LONDON — The Olympic Games are supposed to be a showcase of the best in sports and sportmanship, but eight female badminton doubles players are headed home from the games early after displaying neither on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia have been disqualified after officials say they intentionally tried to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament.
The Badminton World Federation punished the players for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport” in matches played before booing and jeering crowds on Tuesday night.
The teams are appealing or are planning on appealing the decision, the AP reports.
According to the AP, the eight disqualified players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, along with South Korea’s Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
The AP reports that the teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem. In the round-robin format, losing one game can lead to an easier matchup in the next round.
London Olympic organizers say that there will be no refunds offered to fans who attended the matches on Tuesday night and who watched the players intentionally dumping serves into the net and hitting the shuttlecock wide.
According to the AP, London Olympic chairman Sebastian Coe called what happened “depressing,” adding “who wants to sit through something like that?”