China's head coach says Walkden's victory a "scandal" at taekwondo history
Chinese head coach Guan Jianmin said here on Friday that Bianca Walkden's controversial victory over Olympic champion Zheng Shuyan at the World Taekwondo Championships is a big scandal in the sport's history.
"I cannot believe this could happen during the world championships," said Guan, also President of the Chinese Taekwondo Federation. "This is the first time I have seen such kind of thing."
Zheng Shuyin in action during her +73kg World Championship Final bout against Bianca Walkden in Manchester, UK, May 17, 2019. [Photo: VCG]
Zheng, who had beaten Walkden three times in a row, took a dominant lead of 20-10 in the closing stages of the women's over 73km category final, but the referee disqualified Zheng alleging she had committed 10 fouls during the bout. Wakden then secured her third successive world taekwondo title by the referee's punitive declaration.
"Our athlete has worked very hard for this gold medal and it was taken away so easily by the referee. This is very dirty."
Guan said that the Chinese team will launch an appeal to the World Taekwondo, the sport's world governing body, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"We will definitely appeal to the decision," he said. "And this referee's qualification should be stripped of. This scandal is a serious damage to our sport."
Booing drowned out any cheers from British fans as Walkden was announced as the winner and Zheng refused to acknowledge the Briton's victory before sensationally collapsing on the podium and leaving the competition area in tears.
"I have been doing this sport for 16 years, but this is the first time I have realized that a taekwondo match could be played like this.
Zheng, competing in her fifth world championships, said on hearing the British national anthem playing, she felt too weak to stand on the podium.
"I felt very guilty for not winning the gold for my coach, my teammates and my country. We have been working so hard for this world championships. It is the biggest event before the Tokyo Olympic Games."
"Many fans came up to console me and some of them are British. I know most people know what is fair play," Zheng said.