Eight badminton players accused of deliberately losing their matches on Tuesday night have been expelled from the London Olympics. The women top-seeds were from China, South Korea and Indonesia and were thrown out for not using their "best effort" to win.
Chinese top-ranking pair Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, were accused of deliberately losing so they could avoid facing another Chinese pairing in the quarter finals. The China World Champions were facing South Korean pair, Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na but with both teams already qualified it meant the game was effectively a dead rubber. This meant both sides could affect the final group standings by playing to lose.
The 23-minute match descended into a farce when the Chinese pair were seen to be deliberately smashing serves into the net and making obvious lack of effort to return the shuttlecock. South Korea won the game 21-14 21-11, but the watching crowd were incensed as the longest rally was just four shots; long rallies are a feature of a great badminton battle that can excite any watching audience but China and South Korea's efforts caused huge dissent among the spectators who booed and jeered the players relentlessly throughout the game and after the match had completed. Tournament referee Torsten Berg, immediately spoke with the four players before they could leave the court, reports Eurosport.
Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Games said:
[That was] depressing. Who wants to sit through something like that? '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. I know the (Badminton World Federation) really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable.
The match-fixing scenario began again later in the evening when another pair from South Korea, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, clearly sprayed shots wide and served abysmally then appeared to start playing up against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Sky News reports that the teams from Indonesia and South Korea are to appeal against the decision but there has been no word from the Chinese team on whether they will appeal yet.
The controversy comes three days after Chinese gold medal winning swimmer, Ye Shiwen, created a flurry of doping allegations following her unrealistic speed in the 200m individual medley.