The Badminton World Federation this morning disqualified four teams from the Olympic women's pairs competition. As matches played out last night, tactics and medal fever put a definite damper on Olympic spirit — with sufficiently high standings in their qualifying groups to confirm their advancement to the quarter-finals, the teams in question appeared to be throwing their matches last night to avoid playing against certain other competitors in the coming latter stages. Sneaky, sneaky. And to make things more funny/complicated, the teams were trying to throw matches played against each other. This meant lots of flailing, poor serves, and attempts to miss the shuttlecock entirely. Oops:
The madness began when the top seeds, China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, appeared to be throwing their match against Korea's Kim Ha-na and Jung Kyung-eun — all to avoid facing another Chinese team in the quarter/semi-finals. The Korean team "fought" back with no effort on their part to win the match either... though they eventually did, in two sets. The longest rallies in the whole game consisted of four wussy shots.
In a later match, another Korean team tried to lose against two Indonesian players. (Speaking after play finished up for the evening, the Korean badminton coach explained, "the Chinese started this. They did it first.")
Spectators booed all four sets of players, and London's Olympic Committee chairman Sebastian Coe labelled the games "depressing." The Badminton World Federation opened an investigation into all eight players' conduct, on the grounds of both "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." And unsurprisingly, they found evidence to support both code infractions.