March 4, 2008 / 6:49 AM / 12 years ago

Olympics - Thai badminton bosses irked after sponsors fail players

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai badminton chiefs are furious with the sport’s sponsor after it carried out it’s own pre-Olympics fitness tests and failed the country’s top players.

Long time sponsors Siam Cement Group (SCG) have ruled that any player who fails the test would be denied the chance to qualify for the Games in upcoming Super series events in Europe.

However, half of the players failed, including medal hope Boonsak Ponsana, a household name who is expected to scoop the top honour at Thailand’s annual sports awards later this week.

“This makes absolutely no sense — they have gone beyond the call of duty,” Charoen Wattanasin, the Thai badminton association president, told Reuters on Tuesday.

“Even Boonsak failed the test. There will a public outcry if he doesn’t go to the Olympics.”

Two others who failed were doubles players, which rules their partners out of a place in Beijing.

Charoen said an urgent meeting will be called to settle the dispute.

“We don’t want to quarrel with our sponsors,” he said. “But if they decide that after 27 years, they no longer want to support us, it’s not the end of the world.

“Whatever happens, our best players will definitely be in Beijing.”

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