When you're at the top of your game, a lot of people would love to see you fall.
Some would even pay you to do that.
A recent revelation by a former Olympics gold-medal winning shuttler involving a Malaysian badminton official has made headlines around the world, stunning even people who are indirectly involved.
Here's what you need to know about the match-fixing scandal that shook the sporting world:
What actually happened?
Indonesian badminton legend Taufik Hidayat stunned everyone when he revealed that a Malaysian official once approached him to throw a match against former world number one Lee Chong Wei.
The 40-year-old dropped the bombshell in a recent interview
, revealing that he was approached by the unnamed official to lose the 2006 Doha Asian Games semi-final match against the 38-year-old Chong Wei.
In the interview, Hidayat alleged that he was offered 400 million rupiah (RM116,500) to throw the match - double of what the Indonesian government would reward him if he won the competition.
Hidayat went on to win the gold medal, beating China's Lin Dan in the final, so it's safe to say that he did not take up the offer.
LCW, meanwhile, ended up with the bronze medal.
Did LCW know about this?
According to New Straits Times
, Chong Wei was stunned when he found out about Hidayat's allegations, saying that he did not know about the incident prior to this.
"Honestly, I had no idea about this. I was surprised when people started contacting me today," he told Timesport.
Chong Wei told the news portal that he immediately contacted Hidayat after his interview made headlines.
"Taufik is a dear friend, so I quickly got in touch with him. He told me what had happened.
"Thankfully for people like Taufik and me, national pride always comes first."
Chong Wei then revealed that he now knows the identity of the Malaysian official who allegedly offered the bribe, but he's decided to let bygones be bygones.
"I know who the person is, but it's been so long since this took place. I believe we should all move on.
"I don't want to name or shame anybody," he was quoted as saying.
Is match-fixing rampant in badminton?
Just like other sports, badminton players have also been approached to throw away matches for a quick buck.
Take for instance Malaysian shuttlers Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang, who were handed a 20-year and 15-year ban respectively by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for match-fixing in 2018.
According to The Star
, both Zulkiffli (he was a former junior world champion in 2011) and Tan were found guilty of engaging in match-fixing in six different tournaments from 2013 to 2014.
On top of their career-ending ban, Zulkiffli and Tan were handed hefty fines of USD25,000 (RM98,162) and USD15,000 (RM58,897) by a BWF Ethics Hearing Panel respectively.
In 2019, the disgraced shuttlers lost their appeal
, thus that was the last we heard of them.
However, Taufik Hidayat wasn't the only 'big name' shuttler who was asked to throw a match.
During his interview with Timesport
, LCW admitted that he's been approached by bookies to purposely lose matches earlier in his career.
Thankfully, the three-time Olympics silver medallist said no way, Jose.
"I admit... I was also approached in the past to throw matches. I was young then.
"However, my country always comes first. That is why I stayed away from it," he was quoted as saying.
What happens next?
While LCW has decided to let the matter slide, it does seem like the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will be going down that road too.
BAM secretary general Datuk Kenny Goh told New Straits Times
on Wednesday (25 August) that they, too, had no idea this happened.
"To be honest, we were unaware of this. We only got to know this through the media."
While Goh did not mention whether the BAM will be taking action against the official, Goh did reveal that BAM will introduce measures to ensure that match-fixing will never happen again amongst their ranks.
"Moving forward, BAM have in place a system (whistle-blower) to weed out any form of corruption, including match-fixing.
"We do not condone it, and we want to ensure that no such thing happens under our watch," he was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, LCW has been advised to lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the incident.
The President of the Malaysia Corruption Watch (MCW), Jais Abdul Karim, said in a press statement quoted by Harian Metro
that knowing about a corruption case and failure to report it is itself a crime.
It will be interesting to see what happens next, but we do hope that the unnamed official will be punished for trying to tarnish the good image of Malaysian sports.