Edited by Sabyasachi Dasgupta | Updated: August 01, 2012 19:59 IST
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has disqualified four pairs in the women's doubles competition - one from China, one from Indonesia and two from South Korea. They are accused of attempting to manipulate the final standings in the first-round group stage, with two pairs who had already qualified apparently wanting to lose to secure a favourable draw in the next round.
The players are - China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, South Korea's Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na also of South Korea, and Indonesian pair Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
The BWF has charged them with "not using one's best efforts to win a match" and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport".
A Group A match between the powerful Chinese pairing of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and unseeded South Korean pair Jung Kyung and Kim Ha Na came under the scrutiny of the BWF after the Chinese lost heavily on Tuesday. The longest rally in the match was just four shots.
Their defeat meant Yu and Wang avoided playing fellow Chinese pair Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, who had finished second in Group D. Yu said after the match: "We've already qualified, so why would we waste energy? It's not necessary to go out hard again when the knockout rounds are tomorrow."
A Group C match in which South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung beat Indonesian pair Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii was also investigated by the governing body. Tournament referee Torsten Berg came on to court during that match to warn the players about their conduct and was thought to have shown a black card - meaning a dismissal - but it was apparently rescinded. Berg said after the match: "We have looked seriously into the case and as referee I have taken a decision and made a report to the BWF which will be known in due course."
An appeal by India's Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa that results in their Group B be reviewed too has, however, been rejected. The Indian duo alleges that the Japanese team in their group B too lost to secure an easier draw in the knockouts. Ashwini Ponappa told NDTV, "I suspect foul play in the way Japan lost to Chinese Taipei."
On Tuesday, India's women's doubles pair notched a comfortable straight-game victory over Lei Yao and Shinta Mulia Sari of Singapore in their last group B match, but still failed to qualify for the knock-out stage. They tied with the Chinese Taipei and Japanese pairs, but ended up as number three based on the difference in points won and lost in all matches. Only team one and two in each group after the round robin go through to the knockout stage.
Jwala Gutta said, "It is wrong and unfair. The importance of Olympics dies. We worked very hard and I am very proud of myself. If given a chance we are ready to go into the quarterfinals." Jwala later added: "We know both the players - the Japanese and Chinese Tipaei players. I was very shocked. I think Japanese wanted to lose the match; the other side had nothing to do with this."
London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe described the badminton scandal as "depressing" and "unacceptable". "Who wants to sit through something like that?" he said.
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