The Badminton scandal that has rocked the 2012 London Olympics has now resulted in an apology from China’s coach and the resignation of at least one well-known international badminton player.
In tarnishing the sports value the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked that coaches, players and players be punished if they lost on purpose or encouraged competing players to lose intentionally.
Chinese badminton coach Li Yongbo clearly took responsibility for the scandal, saying “It’s me to blame.”
Yongbo then added:
“We didn’t take each competition seriously and follow the Olympic spirit of ‘higher, faster and stronger’ as professional athletes,”
According to ESPN:
“The doubles teams — the top-seeded pair from China, two pairs from South Korea and one from Indonesia — were also set to have their accreditation removed by their national Olympic bodies and to be sent home.”
Defending Olympic champion Yu Yang of China took the punishment one step further, announcing her retirement from the sport. Yang wrote on the Tencent microblogging service:
“This is my last game. Farewell Badminton World Federation. Farewell my dear badminton.”
While state television failed to address Yang’s retirement she went on to say of the thrown matches:
“I think firstly we should apologize to the Chinese audience, because we did not demonstrate the Olympic spirit. … We did not give the audience a game that fully demonstrated our skills. And it really resulted in a lot of negative influence.”
Yu and doubles partner Wang Xiaoli played poorly in earlier matches in order to secure a better position in the quarterfinals.
Wang didn’t announce plans to retire like her partner but instead promised to “play to my full strength in future games…”
With two South Korean and one Indonesian team also disqualified the Olympics experienced its first mass disqualification in event history.
The Chinese team didn’t exactly hide their intentional loss, drawing boos from the crowd as they allowed the South Koreans to pull an easy win.
In a statement released to the Xinhua news agency Olympic officials for Team China wrote:
“The behavior by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair play. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter.”
While admitting to its own match fixing practices the Indonesia badminton federation also called for an end to the group stage format which is often manipulated.
IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told USAToday that the IOC has asked the Badminton World Federation to examine coaches, players and trainer in order “to look into the entourage issue just to see if there any questions to be answered.”
Do you think the group format should be removed in place of a knockout style tournament?