Badminton Teams Expelled for Trying to Lose Intentionally
At the XXX Olympiad on Wednesday, four women's badminton teams were kicked out of the doubles competition for attempting to lose on purpose. A top International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive said that type of behavior strikes at the heart of Olympic competition.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) cited the eight doubles players from South Korea, China, and Indonesia for "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
"We have to be clear, there has been a problem here and we have to take that problem very seriously," BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said.
China accepted the federation's decision. However, Indonesia and South Korea appealed the disqualification, but the Indonesian challenge was withdrawn and the BWF rejected the South Korean appeal.
The competition continued later on Aug. 1 with four previously eliminated teams - South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Russia - advancing to the quarterfinals.
"We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values."
Prior to the announcement of the decision, Erick Thohir accused Chinese competitors of losing intentionally in the past.
"China has been doing this so many times, and they never get sanctioned by the BWF," Thohir said. "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."
The decision to kick the four teams out was welcomed by IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, former head of the International Badminton Federation.
"Sport is competitive," said Reedie. "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."
One of the best players in the world, 2004 Olympic singles champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, called the situation a "circus match."
Chinese player Lin Dan -- the Olympic men's singles champion -- said the sport is going to be damaged. "Especially for the audience," he said through an interpreter. "This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it's not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn't try will just leave the Olympics."