Rugby match-throwing farce rocks China's National Games

Shenyang (China), Sep 3 (IANS) China's National Games were rocked by a scandal Tuesday after the Beijing team threw the women's rugby final against the Shandong team in a protest against controversial refereeing.

The Beijing team had been widely considered the favourites to win gold in the women's rugby tournament, but Shangdong scored two tries to jump 10-0 up soon after the match started, reports Xinhua.

The umpire awarded Shandong another try in the second half, a decision which Beijing players claimed "wrong". The Beijing players then refused to play and stood still on the pitch, only to see their opponents score easily and eventually win by a scoreline of 71-0.

An official of the jury committee for the ongoing National Games said that they are reviewing the match videos and an inquiry is likely to be launched.

The National Games were first held in 1959. In China's gold-obsessed sports system, winning the national title can be as important as winning an Olympic gold to the athletes and officials as well. And as a result of it, cheating, match-fixing and corruption are common.

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