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Archive for August 1st, 2012

Eight Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified Due to Apparent Match-Throwing

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Folks, you cannot make this stuff up.

Here it is, the 2012 London Olympics, and a bunch of players in one sport, badminton, have been disqualified after apparently throwing matches.

Here’s a link to Martin Rogers’s story at Yahoo:–eight-badminton-players-booted-from-olympics-for-throwing-matches.html

Now, here’s a relevant quote:

Olympic badminton authorities booted the eight players who attempted to throw matches out of the Games on Wednesday, but the real culprits are the officials who organized the tournament.

Two South Korean pairs, a Chinese and an Indonesian team will be stripped of their place in the quarterfinals unless an appeal against the punishment is granted. All four teams were determined to have tried to lose their final matches in the women’s doubles group stage in order to secure a more favorable draw in the knockout round.

Rogers explains the real problem here — the fact that badminton has gone to a “first-phase group” system.  All four badminton doubles teams that have now been disqualified had already made it into the next round, which was single-elimination; the reason they apparently threw these matches is because they didn’t want to meet up with other good teams in the single-elimination round.  And he points out that all of this could’ve been easily avoided if the badminton team organizers would’ve just not come up with this silly group format in the first place; yes, some deserving teams would’ve lost, and lost early, but this nonsense would’ve been avoided.

Now, the Associated Press’s story, filed a bit earlier (approximately forty-five minutes ago), has a bit more information regarding what the Badminton World Federation has to say about it all after disqualifying these eight:

The Badminton World Federation investigated two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It accused them of “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.

Of course, the Indonesian team has vowed to appeal, saying that the Chinese teams have been known to “lose on purpose” in the past.  Which just goes to show you how ugly Olympic sports can be — even more “minor” sports, ones that in the United States we probably don’t think much about except during the Olympics.

As for my take?  I think this is a complete embarrassment, both to the Olympics and to the sport of badminton as a whole.  When spectators actually boo matches — as they repeatedly did in London last evening — and nothing gets done immediately, that’s wrong.  When Olympics organizers are forced to defend not giving refunds in the face of this sort of abusive behavior — all because these four teams wanted to set up better matches for themselves in the single-elimination, match-play round — that’s disgusting.

And considering that one of these matches had, as its longest rally, a four-volley exchange before one of the players deliberately hit the shuttlecock wide — when I’m sure that anyone who’s ever played badminton in the backyard, like me, could do better than this — it’s obvious why spectators felt forced to boo.  (I would’ve booed, too, in their place.)

Anyway, all four doubles teams are appealing, but my guess is that their appeals will be denied. 

As well they should be.

Written by Barb Caffrey

August 1, 2012 at 8:52 am