Eight Badminton Players Tossed From Games Over Match-Throwing Scandal
World badminton has apologized after eight women were disqualified from the London Games over a match-throwing scandal that has "sullied the sport's reputation," according to Ian Ransom of REUTERS. The expulsion of the four women's doubles pairs Wednesday "sent shockwaves through the tournament." Disqualified were China's top-seeded duo and doubles pairs from South Korea and Indonesia. Badminton World Federation Secretary General Thomas Lund said, "I'm very, very sorry this has happened for both the players and for the sport." The evening session of the tournament "descended into chaos" on Tuesday. Fans were "jeering two separate matches" as players "deliberately missed shots and dumped serves into the net in a race to the bottom," forcing the BWF to mount an investigation. The Indonesia Badminton Federation Chief Erick Thohir "criticized the decision." Thohir said, "I think the BWF should take a look at the history of the last tournaments before they make judgments." The disqualification "polarized players and team officials." While some "regarded it as unduly harsh, others welcomed it as a good precedent for the sport." Badminton "has been dogged by complaints from players about similar manipulations" in other tournaments (REUTERS, 8/1). Great Britain's Gail Emms, who won a Silver Medal in badminton in '04, said, "I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport. This is the Olympic Games. This is something that is not acceptable. The crowd paid good money to watch two matches" (BBC, 8/1). In a separate piece, Ransom also reported that Chinese singles champion Lin Dan "broke ranks" with his team by speaking out against the "throwing" tactics. Lin said, "I think it will definitely bring a negative impact, because all of these fans came to watch this tournament. This situation really is not in the Olympic sporting spirit" (REUTERS, 8/1).
NO REFUNDS: In London, Macartney & Naughton wrote that LOCOG Chair Sebastian Coe described the alleged match-throwing as “depressing” and “unacceptable.” Coe added that spectators "will not be offered refunds on their tickets." Coe said, “The sadness of it is I was actually at the badminton yesterday and I saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences -- unacceptable. I know the [World Badminton Federation] really well, and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable” (LONDON TIMES, 8/1). The London GUARDIAN reported that LOCOG CEO Paul Deighton reiterated that fans would not be offered refunds. He said that spectators "had been able to watch another match in the session." He added: "You get in to all sorts of strange precedents if people aren't satisfied with what they see -- it is very grey and dangerous territory" (GUARDIAN, 8/1).