Former Chinese basketball player Yao Ming said Saturday swimmer Ye Shiwen deserves respect from the Americans and the decision of the Badminton World Federation(BWF) is a lesson to the Chinese team.
Yao, who retired last summer and becomes a basketball broadcaster for the Chinese Central Television in London, had a half-hour interview at the Xinhua office of the London Olympic Games Saturday afternoon. The accusation of Ye was one of his concerns.
"I can understand the Americans, who dominated the pool for decades. It's a common reaction," Yao said. "It happened when Usain Bolt (of Jamaica) emerged, and it happened again on Ye."
The 16-year-old Ye broke the women's 400m medley world record to win the gold medal by 4:28.43. Her success raised a wave of suspicions about doping.
John Leonard, head of the American Swimming Coaches Association, questioned Ye's freestyle time of 58.68 seconds in the last 100 meters as "unbelievable".
"Ye jumped out from nowhere to take away the glories that the Americans thought belonged to them for a long time. It's not a good feeling, same feeling for us if someone takes away the gold medal from the Chinese on table tennis. But I think the Americans were not gentlemen when they said like that," Yao said.
A debate of good results and Olympic spirits prevailed in China after eight badminton players from China, Indonesia and South Korea, were disqualified for match-fixing scandals in the women's double event on Wednesday.
Yao supported the decisions of the BWF but said he understood the feelings of the Chinese fans.
"Same king of things happened in basketball. It's a simple question. Is the match-fixing scandal right? Does a gold medal value more than anything else?" Yao asked.
"My stand to the issue is clear, and I accept different oppinions. People have different attitudes to the Olympics and I must say some sports need to polish the rules. I feel really sorry for the punished players. They are the victims," Yao added.
He watched his former teammates lost all four matches so far in the tournament and missed the knock-out round for the first time since 2000.
"What the Chinese men's team did were more than the scores showed. We had tried our best. I don't think I'm the person who can make changes. The development of the Chinese basketball cannot rely on a single player or a single coach. We should do something on the system."
Yao was glad to watch the women's counterpart advance into the quarter-finals with three wins and one loss.
"They deserved what they achieved in the Olympics. They set off the journey like underdogs but made things happen with their dominant performances."