Badminton players disqualified for conceding points in bid to lose

Four women’s doubles pairs at the centre of a match-fixing scandal at the London 2012 badminton tournament have been disqualified.

The top seeds from China, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia deliberately conceded points in an apparent attempt to lose their matches and manipulate the quarter-final draw.

All eight players had been charged by the Badminton World Federation/BWF with “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”.

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The four pairs had been due to play their last-eight matches in last night’s session at Wembley Arena.

However their places were filled the pairs who finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups concerned – from Russia, Canada, Australia and South Africa – after an appeal from South Korea over the expulsion was rejected.

The Badminton World Federation also announced yesterday that Indonesia had withdrawn an appeal against their disqualification.

The fiasco began when top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang seemingly tried to engineer defeat against Korea’s Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to avoid finishing top of their group.

That would have kept them in the opposite side of the draw to compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei.

The Koreans responded by themselves apparently trying to lose, before a second pair from their country – Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung – took the retaliation further by failing to play properly against Indonesia’s pairing of Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

In turn, the Indonesians then became involved.

The players were booed off court by an irate crowd during the evening session and the BWF launched an investigation.

Several hours later, they announced charges had been made and a disciplinary hearing would take place.

BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said yesterday: “The group phase has generally been a tremendous success for this tournament.

“It has created really good matches, really good stories and a lot of matches we have never seen before.

“But we also have to be clear there has been a problem here,” he added.

“We need to take that problem very seriously and that will go into the debriefing at the end of these Olympic Games.”

When asked his feelings, Locog chairman Lord Coe said: “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 – unacceptable.”