MELBOURNE, Mar 24 (Reuters) Cheating allegations were levelled during a heated badminton doubles quarter-final between arch sporting rivals Australia and New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games today.
New Zealand player Geoffrey Bellingham complained about his Australian rival Ashley Brehaut's service action with the score tied at 19-19 in the decisive third game.
The match umpire awarded Australia a point after Bellingham swore at Brehaut and accused him of cheating.
Brehaut and his partner Travis Denney went on to win the game 21-19 and the match 2-1 to reach the semi-finals.
The New Zealander claimed that Brehaut's serve was illegal because he raised his arm above the waist.
''In badminton you have got to keep the racket below the waist,'' Bellingham told reporters after the match.
''He won five points in a row and that's just cheating,'' he added.
Brehaut rejected the New Zealander's accusation.
''If I'm cheating, well, then the umpire will call it. As far as I'm concerned it's in the laws, we just try and push those boundaries,'' he said.
''But if he wants to do that, that's up to him. I'm not going to go down to his level.'' Several badminton matches were also disrupted by faulty lighting.
Trans-Tasman neighbours Australia and New Zealand have a long history of often fierce sporting rivalry and relations between the countries hit a low during a one-day international cricket match in Melbourne in 1981.
Trevor Chappell made sure of an Australian victory by bowling the final ball of the game underarm along the ground to Brian McKechnie, an act New Zealanders still find hard to forgive a quarter of a century later.
REUTERS PDS RK1632