8 badminton players tossed from Olympic doubles

Associated Press Modified: August 1, 2012 at 9:47 am •  Published: August 1, 2012
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LONDON (AP) — Eight female badminton doubles players were disqualified Wednesday from the London Olympics after trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament.

The Badminton World Federation announced its ruling after investigating two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It punished them 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" in matches Tuesday night.

"We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. "Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values."

Erick Thohir, the head of Indonesia's Olympic team, told the AP that the Indonesian team will appeal. The BWF said South Korea had also appealed.

The competition was to continue later Wednesday. The BWF said there would be quarterfinals in the women's doubles, meaning at least one eliminated team would be placed into the last eight after the China team chose not to challenge the decision.

Thohir accused Chinese players of losing on purpose in the past.

"China has been doing this so many times and they never get sanctioned by the BWF," Thohir said. "On the first game yesterday when China did it, the BWF didn't do anything. If the BWF do something on the first game and they say you are disqualified, it is a warning for everyone."

IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, welcomed the decision.

"Sport is competitive," Reedie told the AP. "If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense.

"You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them."

The eight disqualified players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, along with South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

The players went before a disciplinary hearing Wednesday, a day after spectators at the arena booed their performance after it became clear they were deliberately trying to lose.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge had been at the venue but had left shortly before the drama unfolded. The IOC said it would allow badminton's ruling body to handle the matter.

Paul Deighton, chief executive officer of the London organizers, said there would be no refunds for the evening's badminton program. Chairman Sebastian Coe called what happened "depressing," adding "who wants to sit through something like that?"

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