LONDON, England (AFP) — Badminton chief Thomas Lund apologised for the Olympic matchfixing scandal which led to the disqualification of eight players yesterday, but insisted the sport’s future in the Games was secure.
Olympic champion from China, Yu Yang and her new partner Wang Xiaoli, two South Korean pairs, Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na, and Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii of Indonesia were kicked out.
All eight were accused of attempting to manipulate the final standings in the first round group stage of the women’s doubles to avoid playing compatriots or to get less difficult opposition in the quarter-finals.
They were found guilty of “not using best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.
“No, I am not embarrassed, I am very very sorry it has happened,” said Badminton World Federation (BWF) Lund.
“The most important thing is that we have dealt with the issues, and done it in the interests of all the players in the tournament.
“There has been a very hard consequence for the eight players but we have 172 players and we must act in the best interests of them all.”
The two doubles pairs from South Korea failed to get their disqualification overturned, the Indonesian pair withdrew their appeal while the Chinese accepted the original decision.
Lund added they will suffer no further punishments, fines or bans, nor will there be any punishments based on allegations that coaches or national associations might have been involved.
Lund said he was confident that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would not take a dim view of the sport, which was first included in the Games relatively recently in 1992.
Confronted by an allegation that such match-throwing had been rife within the sport for many years, Lund denied it, saying that the BWF had “closely monitored” matches during the Olympic qualifying system and had seen no evidence of it.
Lund also rejected wholesale criticisms of the round-robin group system, which some coaches and players, notably Olympic men’s singles champion Lin Dan, believe has tempted players to try to take advantage of loopholes.