Everyone saw the blatant match-throwing that took place during Tuesday’s Olympic Badminton doubles showdowns, but nobody expected for the fallout to be this severe.
According to the Associated Press, eight female players have been disqualified from the 2012 London Games for purposely throwing matches in an effort to jockey for better positioning. The Badminton World Federation (BDF) is now investigating teams from South Korea, China and Indonesia – accusing all four (two from South Korea) 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."
All of the DQed pairs were supposed to compete in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
This incident initially came to light when various outlets began reporting that fans at Tuesday’s badminton matches were especially rowdy. Spectators booed the participating athletes vehemently, apparently, because of how blatantly clear it was that they were trying to lose.
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The first match to feature this nonsense was one between China’s Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (the No.1 ranked pair in the world, no less) and South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na. The proceedings were uncharacteristically uneventful, and numerous analysts noted that neither side seemed to be trying particularly hard. South Korea ultimately “won."
The second match pitted South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung against Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. That showdown didn’t earn rave reviews either.
According to ABC News, the justification for all these embarrassing displays appears to be a change in tournament format. Previously the games were all knockout – meaning if you lose, you’re done. Now it goes by a round-robin system – meaning if you lose, you may actually end up in better positioning for the next round.
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Which makes losing a great strategic move.
Unless of course you get DQed.