China's badminton sweep marred by scandal
Updated: 2012-08-12 15:28:29
LONDON - The London Games badminton tournament was rocked by the biggest scandal to hit the sport in its 20-year Olympic history.
The sport's federation sowed the seeds of the scandal by introducing a much-criticized format of round-robin matches in a pool-based first round, which left the tournament ripe for manipulation by teams seeking to secure preferable positions in the knockout rounds.
Organizers brushed off warnings from team officials and the competition was plunged into turmoil on day four when four women's doubles pairs deliberately played to lose their matches in farcical scenes at Wembley Arena.
China's world champion pair of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were blamed for kicking off the match-throwing antics against South Korean opponents, but both pairs were culpable as they blatantly sprayed shots out and hit serves into the net, sparking jeers from a disgruntled crowd.
Despite repeated warnings from tournament referees, the shenanigans continued in a later match between South Korean and Indonesian opponents.
"Who would want to sit through something like that?" London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe asked. "It is unacceptable."
Within hours, all eight players had been charged with misconduct and they were subsequently expelled from the tournament in a stunning decision that polarized teams and officials.
Indonesia subsequently withdrew its appeal.
The scandal rumbled on, with the IOC demanding the affected delegations investigate their coaches' involvement in the negative tactics.