APEight women's doubles badminton players from China, South Korea, and Indonesia were disqualified today after throwing matches in order to manipulate future match-ups.
After the four women's pairs had qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament, they began intentionally losing games in order to dictate a more favorable match-up in the next round.
The disqualified players included the world champions from China ? Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, as well as the bronze-medal favorites Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min Jung of South Korea.
So why in the world would they lose on purpose?
Basically, they wanted to avoid playing the 2nd best team in the world in the quarterfinals.
In Olympic badminton, there is a preliminary stage followed by a knockout stage. In the prelim stage, the teams are divided into four, four-team groups and play a round-robin. The top two teams from each group advance to an eight-team, bracket-style knockout tournament. In that knockout tournament, the team that came in 1st in Group A plays the team that came in 2nd in Group B, and so on.
The reason the pairs started losing games in the first place was that the second-best team in the world (Tian Qing & Zhao Yunlei of China) were upset in their group stage and came in 2nd instead of 1st. As a result, Wang/Yu and Ha/Kim tried to lose on purpose so they wouldn't win their group and have to play Tian/Zhao in the next round.
The same thing happened with the other two pairs that were DQ'd.
Ironically, the favorites to win gold now are China's Tian/Zhao, who inadvertently started this whole controversy.
The decision was made by the Badminton World Federation, and welcomed by the IOC. Here's what IOC vice president told the AP about the decision:
"Sport is competitive. If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes nonsense. You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them."
Indonesia, which is appealing the decision, is calling out China for being serial cheaters. Here's what Indonesia Olympic team head Erick Thohir told the AP:
"China has been doing this so many times and they never get sanctioned by the BWF. On the first game yesterday when China did it, the BWF didn't do anything. If the BWF do something on the first game and they say you are disqualified, it is a warning for everyone."
Here's video of the Wang/Yu v. Ha/Kim match. They are BOTH trying to lose, so they just keeping hitting it right into the net. The umpire tries to stop it, but just one point after he yells at the players, they starting throwing points again. The Korean team "won":