Update (11:48 a.m. EDT): The Badminton World Federation rejected South Korea's appeal, and Indonesia withdrew its appeal, so the disqualifications for all eight players stand, the Associated Press reports.
Original: One certainly sympathizes with the increasingly annoyed Olympic badminton crowd, which booed the women's doubles teams on Tuesday when they simply refused to play, a move that got eight players disqualified from the games. The bad play happened on Wednesday night, with teams trying to lose so that they could get better positions in the later rounds of the tournament. Take a look at the video below: The match between the South Korean and Chinese doubles teams is just about the lamest "competition" you'll see. Some of the teams aren't even denying that they did it, but they're blaming the poor play on the round-robin format, which can be manipulated to try to select one's opponent.
"The Chinese started this. They did it first," South Korean coach Sun Han-kook told reporters, according to Reuters' Ian Ransom, after officials disqualified two South Korean teams, an Indonesian team, and a Chinese team. "It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final." But why would you choose to throw a match? The idea is that if you lose against the right team, you won't have to face the stronger players—or your own players in a different configuration. "Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem. In the round-robin format, losing one game can lead to an easier matchup in the next round," The Associated Press' Rob Harris notes. Sometimes, the format leads to matches that have no bearing on whether a team qualifies for the next round of competition. China's Yu Yang, a Beijing gold-medalist, told Reuters: "This is the first time we've played them [South Korea] and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already [been] qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds." This is not the first time match-throwing has plagued Olympic badminton. Reuters reports that "China's head coach Li told one of his women's singles players to throw her semi-final match at the Athens Games to allow her team mate Zhang Ning to be fresher for the final against Dutchwoman Mia Audina. Zhang duly won the gold." The video below shows two teams who seem determined not to play a real sport. Indonesia and South Korea have appealed the disqualifications.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.