Shamed badminton stars shuttled out of Games

Shamed badminton stars shuttled out of Games

Normal service should resume at the Olympic badminton tournament following the decisive conclusion of the women’s doubles match-fixing scandal.

After almost 24 hours of farce and controversy starting on Tuesday evening, the sport’s authorities will hope to have put the matter to rest as the competitions move into their latter stages.

Despite criticism in some quarters that they did not move quickly enough, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) acted firmly to expel all four of the pairs that deliberately tried to lose.

The Chinese top seeds, two pairs from South Korea and another from Indonesia all saw their London 2012 involvement cut short as the BWF effectively found them guilty of match-fixing.

All eight players conceded points on purpose in their final group matches in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.

BWF secretary general Thomas Lund said: “The regulations clearly state you have to win every match and you cannot throw some matches to win other matches.

“There’s no two ways about that and that is what the disciplinary committee found in the principles of the Olympic spirit.

“The disqualification is from this event and there are no further punishments from now on.”

South Korea failed in an appeal to have the decision overturned while Indonesia withdrew their challenge against the judgment.

China, whose top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang sparked the furore by trying to get into the opposite side of the draw to compatriots Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, accepted their punishment.

The affair has resulted in a blaze of negative publicity for the sport but Lund has played down the embarrassment factor.

Lund, speaking in a packed press conference, said: “I don’t think I would use the word ’embarrassed’.

“We are very sorry this has happened, for the players and the sport.

“But the most important thing is we have dealt with the issue.

“I don’t think this will affect our status as an Olympic sport.”

The departures of Wang and Yu, Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and the Indonesians Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii led to unexpected reprieves for others.

The four pairs who failed to qualify from the two groups affected were elevated into the quarter-final and one of them is now guaranteed at least a bronze medal.

Russia’s Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova beat South Africa’s Michelle Edwards and Annari Viljoen 21-9 21-7 to book a semi-final against Tian and Zhao.

Canadians Alex Bruce and Michele Li overcame Australia’s Leanne Choo and Renuga Veeran 21-9 18-21 21-18 to set up a last-four clash with Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa, the fourth seeds from Japan.

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