UPDATE 8 a.m. Wednesday: The eight players involved in the scandal have been disqualified from the Olympics.
Scandal has struck in the world of shuttlecocks.
Four pairs of female Olympic Badminton players deliberately played to lose and are getting the smackdown from the Badminton World Federation, reports SkyNews:
Players served into the net, hit shots long or wide, and employed time-wasting tactics as they appeared to try to engineer themselves a favourable draw in the next round of the competition.
Two pairs from South Korea, one from China and one from Indonesia have been charged by the Federation with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match.”
Top-seeded Chinese players Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang began visibly sucking against Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na in an apparent effort to avoid a subsequent matchup with their countrywomen Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei. Kind of like when NBA coaches sit their best players at the end of the regular season to move down a notch and get a favorable bracket. The Koreans, in turn, tried to outsuck the Chinese. The ref warned the players but allowed play to continue, and the Koreans went on to win.
Then the suckfest continued when another Korean pair phoned it in against their Indonesian opponents in an apparent effort to steer around the Wang-Yu juggernaut in the quarterfinal round. The Indonesians employed a counter-suck strategy and the Koreans were forced to win. This time the ref was pissed and disqualified the players. That lasted about two shuttlecockin’ seconds as the boos rained down, and the decision was reversed.
So the tournament continues, but the badminton world is in a state of shuttlecock shock, reports SkyNews:
Britains’s Gail Emms, who was an Olympic silver medallist in 2004, said the scenes were a “disgrace”. “We had four pairs on court trying to lose – very un-Olympic spirit,” she said. “I’m furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport.”
Yu claimed there was no deliberate suckage and that her team was simply conserving energy. But the glory of badminton may be irreparably tarnished in these 2012 Games.