Row as Knowles withdraws

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The Independent Online
Badminton

Peter Knowles, the England international, refused the opportunity to clear himself of suspicion over his late withdrawal from the All-England Championships, which upset the organisers and infuriated his Olympic rival. Anders Nielsen.

He rejected a request to see the tournament's medical officer, Dr Ashwin Patel, for confirmation that he was suffering from an arm injury, after he pulled out a couple of hours before his scheduled first-round match against the ninth seed, Taiwan's Fung Permadi.

Knowles produced a medical certificate provided by his own doctor, but his motives were questioned when it was realised that defeat by Permadi could have aided Nielsen to pip him in the race for a trip to Atlanta.

Permadi had won their previous two meetings, but Knowles denied he was playing the system to gain an Olympic place. "I overdid it a bit playing the Swiss Open, five matches in the Thomas Cup and another for my German club in quick succession. I waited until the last moment hoping it would be OK, but after having a hit, the arm was sore. I really need a week's rest," he said.

However, Knowles' explanation did not impress the Association of England. Tommy Marrs, its events director, was unhappy about a crop of late withdrawals. "Any system that allows people to benefit by not playing must be flawed and should be replaced," he said.

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