LONDON — Eight badminton players have been disqualified from the Olympics in a match-throwing controversy.
Olympics rarely are played out without controversy and the London Summer Games are no different. The scandal that has grabbed the attention here is the disqualification of eight women’s doubles badminton players for match-throwing.
It was obvious to officials and fans that the top-seeded pair from China (Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang), two pairs from South Korea (Jung Kyung-Eun/Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun/Kim Min-jung), as well as an Indonesian duo (Greysia Polii/Meiliana Jauhari) were intentionally trying to lose their matches Tuesday in order to get more favorable opponents - and thus a better chance at a medal - in the knockout stage of the tournament.
Badminton World Federation Secretary General Thomas Lund explained the charges. “Not using one’s best effort to win a match and conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport," he said.
London Olympics Committee Chairman Sebastian Coe described the situation as “depressing.”
"I mean who wants to sit through something like that. The sadness of it is I was actually at badminton Tuesday afternoon and saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress, but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences. Unacceptable. I mean I know the Badminton Federation really well. They will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable," he said.
Erick Thohir, head of the Indonesian badminton team and delegate at the Olympics, said, "We come here not to lose medals, we want to have medals. But there is no direction from the Indonesian Badminton Association to tell the players to lose. I think to blame China is also not fair, I think the BWF (Badminton World Federation) should take a look at the history of the last tournaments before they make judgments."
A spokesman for China’s Olympic Committee said it opposed any behavior that violated “sporting spirit and morality.” The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that further action could be taken based on the results of an investigation.
The disqualification of the four women’s doubles badminton teams allowed the pairs that finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups involved to take their places.
UK wins 1st gold medal
Meanwhile Wednesday, British rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning secured the host nation's first gold medal by winning the women's pair competition on Wednesday.
The win caps a dominating season performance for Glover and Stanning, who set an Olympic record in their preliminary heat. Australia took the silver medal, while New Zealand won bronze.
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has become Britain's most-decorated Olympian by winning the gold medal in the men's time trial at the London games.
Wiggins captured his seventh Olympic medal Wednesday, surpassing former British rower Steve Redgrave. This year's Tour de France champion now has four Olympic gold medals.
In men's swimming, Australian James "The Missile" Magnussen will face Brazilian world record holder Cesar Cielo and six other rivals in the men's 100-meter freestyle race. Magnussen stumbled in his Olympic debut when he and his teammates in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay finished in an embarrassing fourth place.
At the Wimbledon tennis courts, Switzerland's Roger Federer, Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Britain's Andy Murray will compete in the third round of the men's singles event, while the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, join forces in the third round of the women's doubles quarterfinals.
Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura is favored to take home the gold in the men's individual all-around event.
The United States and China lead the overall medal count with 27 and 26 respectively. France is in third place with 12. China has 15 gold medals, the most at the games so far. The American team is in second with 10 first place finishes.
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