The Badminton World Federation announced Wednesday that eight female badminton doubles players were disqualified from the London Olympics after trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament.
According to Reuters, the decision knocked China’s doubles world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang out of the tournament together with South Korean pairs Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were also expelled for their involvement in the tainted matches on Tuesday night which sparked jeers from the crowd and forced the BWF to investigate.
“We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values.”
IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, also welcomed the decision.
“Sport is competitive,” Reedie said. “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 Huff Post reports that 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.
The teams were deliberately spraying shots and duffing serves into the net to concede points. Eventually, the Chinese women lost 21-14, 21-11 and both pairs were jeered off the court.
Both pairs knew the winners would face China’s Tian Quing and Zhao Yunlei, tells BBC. With Yu and Wang losing, the two Chinese pairings could have only met in the final.
Officials from the Badminton World Federation determined that the four sets of women violated the Players’ Code of Conduct, Sections 4.5 and 4.6, 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.”
Gail Emms, the former British badminton star who won silver in the mixed doubles at the 2004 Games, called the lack of trying “disgraceful”: “You cannot do this in an Olympic Games, this is something that is not acceptable and it just makes not only our sport but the organisers and the poor crowd who had to watch, who pay good money to watch two matches … It was just disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.”
Erick Thohir, the head of Indonesia’s Olympic team, said that the Indonesian team will appeal. South Korea had also appealed.
Moreover, 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.”
The competition was to continue later Wednesday. However, it was still unclear if four eliminated teams would be placed into the quarterfinals or if the competition would restart at the semifinal stage.