There are plenty of doping rumors swirling about Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen, but those are being supplanted today by the massive scandal brewing on the badminton court. Yes, the badminton court.
Apparently several teams — eight players in all — conspired to throw their matches in order to secure a favorable draw in the next round. And after the World Badminton Federation (WBF) investigated, all eight have been expelled from the games.
The Badminton World Federation investigated two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It accused them of “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” in matches Tuesday night.
By Wednesday morning the Indonesian team said all the players had been kicked out, but that team plans to appeal.
London’s Daily Telegraph has more:
Four pairs of players – two from South Korea, one from China and one from Indonesia – could be disciplined by the Badminton World Federation after the competition temporarily descended into farce.
Organisers launched an investigation after the players in the women’s doubles competition were jeered by spectators as they appeared deliberately to concede points.
Their actions seemed to be an attempt to manipulate the final standings in the group stage of the Olympic competition as they had all already qualified.
The suggestion is that they wanted an easier draw in the knockout stages or were trying to avoid teams from their own nation.
The unedifying spectacle at Wembley Arena saw opposing teams in two separate matches apparently determined to be defeated.
It continues, noting that the players didn’t do a good job of hiding their acting:
China’s Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na are among those facing sanction.
The longest rally in their game lasted four shots,and match referee Thorsten Berg coming on to court at one point to warn the players.
The players also appeared deliberately to serve into the net and to hit the shuttlecock out of the court.
A technical delegate said tournament organisers had formed a review panel to investigate – with the threat of serious sanctions including possible disqualification.
Moments after the review was confirmed, another match, between South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jing and Indonesian pair Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari, also descended into farce as the teams played out the same scenario.
A tournament referee came on to the court and appeared to disqualify both pairs in the second match, but the team’s coaches implored to be allowed another chance.
The Chinese defended themselves by saying, “it’s not necessary to go out hard again when the knockout rounds are tomorrow.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.