We've seen sporting events before where we believe a team is deliberately trying to lose because it's playing so horribly.
However, badminton has taken it to a whole new level in these Olympics.
In a pair of Tuesday matches, four badminton teams did the unthinkable—try to lose in the group stages to earn a more favorable draw in the knockout stage.
According to Ian Ransom of Reuters:
Spectators at the Wembley Arena shouted abuse and jeered at the players amid farcical scenes as the teams deliberately sprayed shots and duffed serves into the net to concede points.
Those involved include reigning world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and two South Korean pairs—Jung Kyung Eun and Kim Ha-na, along with Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min Jung.
My favorite quote came from South Korean coach Sung Han-kook:
The Chinese started this. They did it first. It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semifinal. So we did the same. We didn't want to play the South Korean team again (in the knockout stages).
That pretty much says it all.
Now, according to The Daily Telegraph, all four teams are disqualified.
There are four teams, all that were going to compete for a medal, that are no longer in the competition.
Serves them right.
However, I think the World Badminton Federation's statement in announcing why the athletes were disqualified is very weak.
The pairs have been charged...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."
That's weak in my opinion. Just say they tried to throw a match and violated the integrity of the sport.
This is going to leave a black eye on the Olympics, especially in badminton.
Now, every time a top team loses in the sport, one has to wonder if it's throwing the match. It's going to be hard to get fans to think that players are giving their best, no matter what happens.
Throwing matches should never be accepted, no matter the level of competition.
There's no wits about it.
If you end up facing your fellow countrymen in the semifinals, then so be it. Such is life.
My hope is that these athletes are banned from not just these Olympics, but all future Olympics. That will send a clear message around the world.
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