London 2012

Pairs 'throw games'

Badminton authorities in probe into Olympic 'disgrace'

Last Updated: 01/08/12 1:21pm

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Badminton controversy mars games

The Badminton World Federation have launched disciplinary proceedings after four women's doubles pairs apparently tried to throw matches at London 2012.

In scenes of farce at Wembley Arena, a pair from China, two from South Korea and another from Indonesia seemed to want to lose in an attempt to manipulate the draw.

Their actions were described as "a disgrace" by Gail Emms, an Olympic silver medallist for Great Britain in 2004, who was watching in the arena.

A statement from the BWF confirmed that all four pairs would face charges 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".

All four had already qualified for the last eight but top spots were still to be settled.

"It was a disgrace. We had four pairs on court trying to lose - very un-Olympic spirit. I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport."
Gail Emms Quotes of the week

Four of the eight players involved were shown the black card of disqualification by the tournament referee at one point, but this was rescinded on protest. All players were booed off court by an irate crowd.

The fiasco began when Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang started to show little interest in beating Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to finish top of Group A.

That would mean avoiding compatriots and second seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei at least until the final.

Tian and Zhao had been sent off their natural path to the final as second seeds by defeat to Denmark's Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen earlier in the day.

The Koreans responded to China's antics by copying them and referee Thorsten Berg emerged to warn all the players.

The match restarted and the Koreans went on to win 21-14 21-11.

But that was not the end of the matter as a second Korean pair, the third seeds Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, then attempted to throw their match against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

Their motive was apparent retaliation to avoid Wang and Yu in the quarter-finals, an outcome they failed to achieve as they eventually won 18-21 21-14 21-12.

The Indonesians were not innocent parties either and in turn tried to lose the game themselves.

Berg again intervened and disqualified the players but quickly reversed his decision. He returned to courtside later as the histrionics continued - despite an attempt to restrain him by the Indonesia coach - but did not approach the players again.

"China control everything. I don't know who controlled the match to lose but if it is China again, they did it so many times last year, they didn't play against each other in 20 matches. They do what they want."
Bulgaria's Petya Nedelcheva Quotes of the week

Korea's coach Sung Han-kook laid the blame squarely at the feet of China.

He said: "The Chinese started this. They did it first. It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final, they don't want that to happen.

"They [BWF] should do something about that."

Yu claimed the Chinese tactics had simply been to preserve energy ahead of the knockout phase.

She said: "Actually these opponents really were strong. This is the first time we've played them and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds.

"Really, it's not necessary to go out hard again when the knockout rounds are tomorrow."

Petya Nedelcheva, the Bulgarian women's singles 15th seed who had been playing on an adjacent court at the time of the first incident, was forthright in her general criticism.

She said: "China control everything. I don't know who controlled the match to lose but if it is China again, they did it so many times last year, they didn't play against each other in 20 matches. They do what they want."

Gail Emms, an Olympic silver medallist in 2004, was watching in the arena.

She said: "It was a disgrace. We had four pairs on court trying to lose - very un-Olympic spirit. I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport."

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