A pair of Thai badminton players who had once partnered at the London Summer Olympics got into a brawl Sunday at the Canada Open 2013 tournament.
The altercation took place during the Men’s Doubles Final at the Canada Open 2013 badminton tournament in Vancouver, Canada, the Bangkok Post reports. Witnesses claim that Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jongjit, who once represented their native Thailand as partners at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, engaged in a fistfight after a heated argument.
Issara and Jongjit reportedly began to argue as their respective teams switched to the opposite side of the court during the match, the Bangkok Post reports. As the argument progressed, Issara dropped his badminton racket and chased Jongjit onto another court, tackling him to the ground and unleashing a series of punches and kicks on his former partner in front of a stunned Vancouver crowd. Coaches and stadium stuff rushed onto the scene to break up the brawl.
An apparently dazed Jongjit emerged from the fight shirtless, while an enraged Issara was pulled away by several bystanders, the Vancouver Sun reports. By Sunday night, the badminton brawl video had been widely posted on Facebook and YouTube and has since gone viral.
Both Issara and Jongjit’s teams were immediately disqualified from the Canada Open 2013, the Sun reports. After the fight, Issara reportedly required two stitches to his ear. Badminton Canada officials have not yet decided if the former Thai Olympians will receive further punishment.
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Charoen Wattanasin, president of the Badminton Association of Thailand, noted that Issara and Jongjit had been attempting to “agitate” each other throughout the match. The ex-teammates purportedly received an official warning at the start of the final after engaged in a verbal exchange. “I’ve been in the badminton circle for 58 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. This is very bad,” Wattanasin told the Bangkok Post.
As recently as last January, Issara and Jongjit were considered one of the best badminton teams in the world, the Sun reports. However, their partnership ended when Issara briefly retired to care for his sick mother.