THE FOUR women’s doubles pairs at the centre of a match-fixing scandal at the London 2012 badminton tournament have been disqualified.
The top seeds from China, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their matches and manipulate the quarter-final draw.
All eight players had been charged by the Badminton World Federation/BWF with “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”.
Australian badminton coach Lasse Bundgaard was at the arena during the matches and was so upset with what he saw that he had lodged a protest with the federation.
“There are no Australians left in the draw, but Lasse felt that it was important for the integrity of the sport,” Australian team official Kitty Chiller said.
The doubles pairs were all due to compete in quarter finals this afternoon. Spectators at London’s Wembley Arena booed when they realised players were apparently deliberately trying to lose.
On Tuesday, Chinese players were accused of starting the problem by deliberately losing a game. This led to other teams behaving in a similar way to try to force an easier quarterfinal. At one stage both teams appeared to be trying to lose a game.
World doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na were booed loudly by the crowd Tuesday after dumping serves into the net and making simple errors like hitting the shuttlecock wide.
The longest rally in their first game was only four strokes. The umpire warned them and tournament referee Torsten Berg spoke to all four players but it had little effect. At one stage Berg showed a black card which usually means disqualification, but the game continued.
Eventually, the Chinese women lost 21-14, 21-11 and both pairs were jeered off the court.
The teams had already qualified for the last 16, but the result ensured that the top-seeded Wang and Yu will avoid playing their No. 2-seeded Chinese teammates until the final.
The problem was repeated in the next women’s doubles between South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. Both teams were also warned for deliberately losing points in a match the Koreans won 18-21, 21-14, 21-12.
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