Growing up, there were two things I learned over the years that I thought would never change. The first being that when it comes to the Olympics, athletes that represent their country would make sure they didn’t disgrace it on purpose and that the goal is to win games; not lose them. On Tuesday night, eight female badminton players basically disgraced themselves at the 2012 Olympics for trying to lose matches the day before, the Badminton World Federation announced after a disciplinary hearing.
The players drew boos from spectators and warnings from match officials Tuesday night because the players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were accused of playing to lose in order to face easier opponents in future matches. Several charges were brought against the female athletes that include not doing their best to win a match as well as abusing or demeaning the sport. The federation said the South Korean and Indonesian players have appealed and a decision was expected later Wednesday.
The charges stem from two contests in London that angered the viewing spectators. They reacted to the double pairs who seemed to be serving into the net on purpose. The players that were charged had already won their matches and had qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament before the final matches of the group stage Tuesday night. Zain Verjee from CNN, who is in London covering the games, said that the accused players were playing a tactic and strategy rather than playing to win.
Many British sports fans who went into the Olympic Park on Wednesday called the scandal “shocking.” Kevin Button of Ashford, in Kent, just outside of London said, “It’s not in the spirit of the thing,” Tina, his wife also commented about the scandal. “And it’s so disappointing for the people who came to see it. It leaves a bit of a sour taste.” The disqualification will make the things more interesting in that the world’s No. 1 pair, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, is out of the competition.
During and after the disqualifying matches had concluded, athletes commented on the play of those athletes as well as the consequences towards the sport. After watching one of the disqualifying games, one of the world’s top male players, 2004 Olympic singles champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, called the situation a “circus match.”
Later in the matches, the problem was repeated again during the match between South Korea and Indonesia which resulted in both teams being warned for deliberately losing points in a match.
Through an interpreter, China’s Lin Dan, the No. 2-ranked men’s singles player, said the sport is going to be damaged. “Especially for the audience,” he said before the disqualifications were announced. “This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it’s not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn’t try will just leave the Olympics.”
Another athlete, Beijing’s badminton silver medalist Gail Emms, said the matches were embarrassing to watch. “It was absolutely shocking,” she said. “The crowds were booing and chanting ‘Off, off, off.'”
Badminton Scandal Video
8 Female Badminton Players in London Olympics 2012 Disqualified.
Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified
The Badminton World Federation disqualified eight players at the London 2012 Olympics, after they were trying to lose matches to receive a more favourable place in the tournament.
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