A top Chinese badminton star quit the sport on Thursday in an Olympic match-throwing scandal met with dismay and criticism in China, Indonesia and South Korea, from where eight players were disqualified.
The Badminton World Federation's move to eject a Chinese, an Indonesian and two South Korean duos for failing to play their best marked the first major scandal of the Games and prompted China's Yu Yang to retire from the game. (Related read: South Korea fumes at badminton disgrace)
Sports fans and the media in all three countries expressed disappointment, some saying it was humiliating to have their national players implicated in the scandal, although others were sympathetic to the athletes.
"Match fixing tramples on sports ethics and shouldn't be tolerated," an opinion piece in China's state-run Global Times said on Thursday.
The paper was among several news outlets and ordinary citizens from the Asian countries to suggest that the new round-robin format motivated players to lose, though most agreed that nothing excused match-throwing.
China's Yu and her partner Wang Xiaoli -- who together won the badminton world championship last year -- apologised on television and promised to reform.
But shortly after that, Yu announced on Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblog, that she planned to quit.
"This is my last time competing. Goodbye Badminton World Federation, goodbye my beloved badminton," she posted.
"After working hard and dealing with injuries to prepare, (you) say we're disqualified and we're disqualified. You have heartlessly shattered our dreams."
China's badminton head coach took responsibility for the scandal on Wednesday, saying he was to blame -- a stance that some South Korean sports fans posting their opinions on the popular portal Daum.net agreed with.
"Why Korea and Indonesia?" said Whoohaha, among several South Koreans to blame the Chinese and cast their players as victims. "It's all because of Chinese!"
South Korea's Dong-A Ilbo newspaper also pointed the finger at the Chinese players, whom it said first began fixing the games.
But most media and web users in South Korea expressed anger and criticised their country's players, Jung Kyung-Eun, Kim Ha-Na, Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung.
"It's a dirty act that goes against sports and the Olympics. They don't deserve to play sports. Everyone including the coaches should get a 10-year ban," posted Shin Hyun-Dong.
South Korea's major newspaper JoongAng Ilbo said that "Korean women's badminton players have disgraced the Olympic spirit and embarrassed the country".
Hankook Ilbo called the scandal a "ridiculous performance" and said Korean coaches were making excuses for an "insult to sport".
Indonesians shared the sense of shame over their players Meiliana Jauhari and Polii Greysia.
"As a fan I am very disappointed. They showed a very bad sport spirit -- it's so sad considering they are the world-class players," said businessman Anton who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
"They were seeking a gold medal. They did many ways to reach the target. But that was not the good way," said Hassan Toffick, an airline instructor.
Polii apologised to fans via Twitter but also criticised the ruling. "Of course this decision made us feel down and feel unfair, but nevertheless we fought a good fight."
The 1992 Olympics badminton gold medallist Susi Susanti shared her concerns but also blamed the new competition system.
"I'm very concerned with what happened," she said on radio ElShinta.
"But I also regret the BWF's decision that applied for the first time a competition system which gives a player a chance to lose a game in order to avoid certain opponents in the following match."