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Olympic badminton players expelled for trying to lose

6:06 AM, Aug 1, 2012   |    comments
China's Jing Du and Yan Yu return the shuttlecock to their compatriots Pan Pan and Qing Tian during their Badminton World Championships women pair quarter final match on August 27, 2010, at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)
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LONDON - The Badminton World Federation confirms it has disqualified eight female badminton players from China, South Korea and Indonesia from the Olympics doubles competition for trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable draw.

The federation found the players guilty of "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" in matches Tuesday night.

Players were roundly booed after they appeared not to exert themselves in preliminary rounds of the round-robin tournament before they were set to move on to elimination competition.

The Indonesian pair and both Korean pairs have appealed the decision. The badminton federation will hold a press conference later Tuesday following the final decision.

The eliminated players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yan of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, along with South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

The doubles pairs were all due to compete in quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.

IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, welcomed the decision.

"Sport is competitive," Reedie told The Associated Press. "If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense.

"You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them."

China's Lin Dan, the No. 2-ranked men's singles player, said through an interpreter the sport is going to be damaged.

"Especially for the audience," he said before the disqualifications were announced. "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."

In one of Tuesday night's matches, pitting Chinese players Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yan against Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na of South Korea, the players appeared to deliberately serve into the net, triggering a warning from the referee.

The federation examined whether the Chinese players sought to throw the match so that they would not have to meet another Chinese pair in the next round.

A similar controversy erupted a short time later involving another South Korean pair and their Indonesian opponents.

The performances prompted broad condemnation from both the International Olympic Committee and London Olympics chief Sebastian Coe, who said the play was "unacceptable.''

"It's depressing,'' Coe said. "Who wants to sit through something like that. It is unacceptable.''

IOC spokesman Mark Adams also expressed dissatisfaction, saying that the group would support the federation's review.

But London organizers said they would not provide refunds to the spectators at the questioned events.

London Olympics operations director Paul Deighton said the tickets to the disputed events also provided spectators with access to other matches that were not questioned.

"It wasn't a one-off game,'' Deighton said. "No one has asked for a refund.''

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