Eight badminton players who deliberately played poorly in matches yesterday have been thrown out of the London Games, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said.
“I’ve heard from the federation that they’ve thrown out all of them,” Adams said in an interview at the Olympic Park today. The Badminton World Federation’s disciplinary committee held a formal hearing this morning.
The Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian Olympic players performed poorly and drew a caution from the umpire and jeers from spectators at Wembley Arena in London.
The federation today opened disciplinary cases against the four women’s doubles teams for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport,” it said in an e-mailed statement. Association spokeswoman Gayle Alleyne was unavailable for comment.
“It’s depressing, who wants to sit through something like that?” Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London organizing committee, told reporters at the Olympic Park. “The badminton federation will take it very seriously.”
World champions and top seeds Yu Yang, 26, and Wang Xiaoli, 23, from China, and South Korea’s Jung Kyung-Eun, 22, and Kim Ha- Na, 22, were warned by officials because they appeared to deliberately serve into the net. A second South Korean pair, the third-seeded Ha Jung Eun, 25, and Kim Min Jung, 26, and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii, 24, are also involved in the case.
The Chinese and South Korean pairs in Group A had already made the quarterfinals. Korea won the match 2-0 to set up a meeting with China’s Tian Quing and Zhao Yunlei. By losing, the Chinese team wouldn’t have met their compatriots until the final.
The match referee warned the players at 14-10 in the first game. Tournament referee Torsten Berg of Denmark was called and told the teams that they faced punishment if they didn’t compete properly. South Korea head coach Sung Han Kook placed the blame with the Chinese pair.
“It’s not like the Olympics spirit to play like this,” Sung said at London’s Wembley Arena. “How could the No. 1 pair in the world play like this? They start playing mistakes.”
Yu, Wang, Jung and Kim were booed by the crowd as they exited after the South Korean pair won 21-14, 21-11.
Yu told journalists that she and her partner were already through and were conserving energy for the elimination stage.
“If we’re not playing the best, it’s because it doesn’t matter,” she said. “The most important thing is the elimination match.”
Paul Deighton, Chief Executive Officer of LOCOG, said people who attended the matches would not have their tickets refunded.
“They did get to see another game, it wasn’t a one off game, and as far as I know no one has asked for a refund,” Deighton told reporters today. “If you get into that territory it’s very gray and dangerous territory.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser at the London Olympic Park at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at firstname.lastname@example.orgWorld champions and top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli from China, and South Korea’s Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na were warned by officials because they appeared to deliberately serve into the net. Photographer: Michael Regan/Getty Images