Women’s doubles pairs from China and South Korea face disqualification for “not using one’s best efforts to win a watch” in the women’s doubles competition at the Olympics, the Badminton World Federation said. Two pairs have been charged after disciplinary proceedings early on Wednesday.
The teams – China’s top ranking Wang Xaoli and Yu Yang and South Korea’s Kyung Eun Jung and Ha Na Kim – were seemingly trying to lose the match for a preferential draw in the quarter-finals and avoid coming up against China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the same half of the draw. Both teams deliberately hit serves into the net or served wide.
Match referee Thorsten Berg warned the teams of possible disqualification on numerous occasions. The match ended, to huge boos and heckling from the crowd, with South Korea winning 21-14, 21-11.
The South Korean head coach blamed China for the incident, saying, “It’s not like the Olympic spirit to play like this. How could the number one pair in the world play like this?”. According to Xinhua, the Chinese Olympic team is investigating on the incident. “The Chinese sports delegation take the incident in the women’s badminton doubles very seriously … The Chinese Olympic Committee has always advocated the fostering of the Olympic spirit on the playing field as well as the spirit of fair and just competition,” an unnamed spokesman said.