Inside track (MSN)

Disqualification was the only option

MSN Sport's Rob Jones says it's right to make an example of the match-fixers

By Rob Neil Jones 01/08/2012 10:14

Chinese women's doubles pair in badminton - PAAfter going to see the table-tennis on Sunday I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing another high-paced racquet sport on Tuesday night.


In front of an almost capacity Wembley Arena the final group stage matches of the women’s badminton double descended into utter farce.


Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli the number one seeds from China ‘played’ against Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na of South Korea, seeded 8.


After a very brief warm-up the match began with the first few points ending with unforced errors.


With my badminton knowledge limited initially I put this down to a Olympic pressure, but as it continued murmurs of laughter could be heard from the crowd. These murmurs quickly transform into booing as the astonished crowd looked at the score and saw that 21 points had been played without a rally of more than four shots.


It is clear when professional athletes, especially the best in the world, are simply not trying.

At one stage eight consecutive serves had either limply gone into the net, aimlessly gone wide or been called for an overt foot fault.


The umpires and tournament referee, who initially sent the players off before then rescinding it, were as powerless to do anything as the thousands of dumbfounded onlookers, as both teams deliberately attempted to lose the match in order to avoid playing the other Chinese pairing in the knockout stages of the competition, who suffered a shock earlier in the competition.


Tournament referee issues black card - PAFor the record, Korea 'won' 2-0. Not because they were superior, but because they were more embarrassed about the fiasco than their opponents who wildly and continuously hit the shuttlecock out.


China’s Yu told Reuters, "Actually these opponents really were strong. This is the first time we've played them and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds."


This is simply not true. It is clear when professional athletes, especially the best in the world, are simply not trying.


Former Olympic silver medalist Gail Emms said “my two-and-a-half-year-old could have won this match”


This sham then had a domino effect on another match as both teams tried to avoid the Chinese favourites. The pantomime crowd quickly caught on and began chanting “off, off, off”.


This form is undoubtedly not in-tune with the Olympic spirit, but I wondered whether I blamed them or the organisers for the circus that ensued.

Emms later explained how this was not a huge surprise, “I knew this was going to happen, it’s truly disgraceful”

Badminton changed the format from four years ago in Beijing from a straight knockout to these group stages. This was a decision by the Badminton World Federation to be more inclusive for nations that haven’t got a strong history in the sport, but this has monumentally backfired.


This is supposed to be the greatest show on earth, sadly last night was more like a side show.

All of pairs have been disqualified by the International Olympic Committee for ‘not using their best efforts to win a match’.


Their defense could be that ultimately they have a better chance of not only securing gold for them, but also, in China’s case, another medal for their compatriots.


But this ignores the 12,500 fans that had paid money on tickets and travel to watch the match. They didn’t pay to see a game that, quite frankly, was appalling and embarrassing in equal measure.


The Olympics is about the world’s best athletes competing, pushing each other to a new level of excellence.

Chinese women's badminton pair - PAThis should be the pinnacle of sport, seen only every four years, and sadly last night’s events have shown badminton in a terrible light and has done nothing for the sport or the individuals involved.


If the draw does throw up an all Chinese semi-final then, sobeit, this is what the Olympics is all about.


Not that it is at all likely in the near future, but if there were two British pairs in the same position I would be highly surprised if the same thing occurred. It’s just not in the British nature to deliberately lose. What we lack in raw talent in certain sports we make up for in dogged effort.


Similarly, British crowds love a plucky underdog, or a determined trier and would not stand for it.


The badminton governing body must revert to the previous format for Rio in four years’ time to avoid similar scenes.


This is supposed to be the greatest show on earth, sadly last night was more like a side show.

The only fitting punishment was disqualification from the Games – they don’t deserve to part of London 2012.

Let us know what you think in the comments below or tweet @msnsportrob

01/08/2012 11:10
Send them home without further play. Infact send all the team home - they have brought disgrace on the whole team.
01/08/2012 11:10

throw them out,complete disgrace!how many CHEATS have the chinese got?


01/08/2012 12:31

All the players involved in those matches must be sent home in disgrace, with immediate effect, and never allowed to play internationally again.


Have the courage of your convictions judges,  act decisively.

01/08/2012 11:06
Send them home, disqualify them, they are a disgrace to the sport of Badminton. This is as bad, if not worse than taking drugs to enhance performance.....
01/08/2012 11:14

These games are supposed to encourage the young etc etc to get involved in sport. These games are a showcase for the very best in sport both in the way the game is played (whatever the sport) and the way those taking part handled themselves. Likewise the referees are supposed to ensure fair play with all that goes with it. The answer to this problem is very simple disqualify them and send them home right away in disgrace. This would I believe ,send the correct message. Surely it's time the governing bodies stepped up to the plate.

01/08/2012 12:25

They should have been disqualified immediately...they have made a mockery of the Olympic Games and should never be allowed to compete in them again. The organisers should have listened to the concerns of people who predicted this  and taken appropriate action

01/08/2012 11:13

There will always be instances where it is in one's interest to lose a match to avoid certain opponents in the next round.  It happens in football tournaments - which is almost accepted as par for the course - but one would hope to think that the Olympic spirit would rise above that.

I would love to see the culprits thrown out for bringing the games into disrepute but more realistically the organisers will need to review the qualification process to ensure that the forth coming rounds are not so predictable and therefore open to this abuse from the more unscrupulous contenders.

It will be an embarrassment all round if those concerned (ie CHEATS) make it through to the final.

01/08/2012 12:25
Disqualification is the only part they deserve in this, its an absolute disgrace to the games. People have paid a lot of money to see good competitive matches and get treated to a disgraceful show of match fixing right under their noses.
01/08/2012 12:28

this is not sportsmanship!!!!!!!! defanaitley should be disqualified out.. out.. out..

no matter which country it is.

01/08/2012 12:25
Match fixing pure and simple, throw them out of Olympics and all other competition for some time. Should also have to personally refund tickets and travel costs of all spectators.
01/08/2012 12:25


I think to use these tactics is as bad as using drugs and would disqualify the teams that did not play in the spirit of the games.

01/08/2012 12:08

Disqualification for not being worthy of a place in the olympics

01/08/2012 12:28

What was that oath taken during the opening ceremony, by officials stating drugs will not be tolerated and the games are all about fair play.............that didn't stand for much did it ?

   Heads should roll !!

01/08/2012 12:09
One of our judo players was penalised for "NOT PUTTING UP A FIGHT". these 4 should be thrown out for  "NOT BEING SPORTING AND MAKING A GAME OF IT" All the contestants are there to fight for thier places and thier countries. Not forgetting all the supporters who paid good money to see these games.  
01/08/2012 11:00

a disgraceful loss of face surely


01/08/2012 11:55
what's with the stupid, (find your true love here) rubbish??? SORT IT OUT MSN!!!
01/08/2012 11:54
This is out and out match fixing, they should be kicked out full stop.
01/08/2012 11:35
It is plain and simple cheating and all of the offenders should be disqualified and sent home in disgrace.  They have broken their Olympic Pledge! End of games for them!
the people should a. demand their money back and b. demand that these cheats are disqualified from the competion forthwith
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