Badminton teams disqualified from Olympics

Badminton World Federation charges eight athletes for not using “best efforts” after matches end in controversy.

The Badminton World Federation has disqualified eight women badminton players from the Olympic competition.

The women, from China, Indonesia and South Korea, had been charged with deliberately losing group stage contests to secure an easier draw through the Olympic tournament.

Four pairs of players – two from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia – are out of the Olympics after their matches on Tuesday.

China’s Olympic delegation had already launched an investigation into allegations, state media has confirmed, in the latest controversy to strike the Chinese team.

“The Chinese Olympic Committee… opposes any kind of behaviour to violate the sporting spirit and morality,” Xinhua news agency quoted a Chinese Olympic spokesman as saying.

The players in the two matches concerned were booed off court by angry spectators at Wembley Arena in London on Tuesday after they appeared to deliberately serve into the net, or hit the shuttlecock long or wide.

They were allegedly attempting to manipulate the final standings in the first-round group stage, with two pairs who had already qualified apparently wanting to lose to secure an easier draw in the next round.

The Group A match between the powerful Chinese pairing of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and unseeded South Korean pair Jung Kyung and Kim Ha Na came under scrutiny by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) after the Chinese lost heavily.

There were no rallies of more than four shots in the match.

Their defeat meant Yu and Wang avoided playing fellow Chinese pair Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, who had finished second in Group D.

Yu said after the match: “We’ve already qualified, so why would we waste energy? It’s not necessary to go out hard again when the knockout rounds are tomorrow.”

A later Group C match in which South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung beat Indonesian pair Meiliana Juahari and Polii Greysia is also being investigated by the governing body.

Tournament referee Torsten Berg came on to court during that match to warn the players about their conduct and was thought to have shown a black card, meaning a dismissal, but it was apparently rescinded.

Berg said after the match: “We have looked seriously into the case and as referee I have taken a decision and made a report to the BWF which will be known in due course.”

‘Obviously embarrassing’

Before the charges were laid, the former Olympic silver medallist Nathan Robertson of Great Britain urged badminton chiefs to take action against matches being thrown after the furore at the London Games.

“It’s obviously embarrassing and needs to be stopped,” said Robertson.

“Throwing of matches has happened many times before. I’ve been in matches myself where it’s happened, but it’s particularly embarrassing that it should happen in an Olympics.

“It’s time the BWF took a strong stand. And maybe the IOC [International Olympic Committee] will consider whether this is in breach of the Olympic code of fair play.”

The badminton row is not the only controversy surrounding China’s Olympic team, which is vying against the United States to top the medals table.

On Tuesday, Chinese teenage swimming sensation Ye Shiwen said a doping row surrounding her in London had inspired her to a second Olympic gold medal with victory in the 200m medley.

Sixteen-year-old Ye, whose explosive win in the 400m medley in world record time on Saturday drew allegations of drug use, sealed the medley double with victory in 2min 07.57sec, a new Olympic record.

Source: News Agencies