Badminton players disqualified for playing to lose

Eight badminton players have been disqualified from Olympic competition for not trying hard enough. Four teams, one Indonesian, one Chinese and two South Korean, were adjudged to have attempted to lose matches to manipulate the draw for subsequent rounds.

The matches occurred in a farcical evening in the Olympic arena, with the crowd loudly derisive of the antics of the players, Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, the Chinese top seeds, South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun, Kim Ha-na, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, and Indonesians Meiliana Juahari and Greysia Polii.

All the duos had already qualified for the later stages and were attempting to conserve energy or ensure an easier draw in the next round. The South Korea coach, Sung Han-kook, blamed the Chinese. "If they played right, the Chinese team, this wouldn't happen," he said. "So we did the same."

Olympics chief Lord Coe condemned the behaviour of the players, saying, "who wants to sit through something like that?" If that implied that disappointed spectators might be given a refund, Locog executive Paul Deighgton quickly dismissed that idea. "You get into all sorts of strange precedents if people aren't satisfied with what they see," he said. "It is very grey and dangerous territory."

Gail Emms, a British former badminton Olympic medallist was disgusted by the players. "You cannot do this in an Olympic Games," she said in a BBC interview. "This is something that is not acceptable, it was just disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful."

The Chinese players especially can expect a hostile reaction at home, after being expected to claim the gold medal.

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