LONDON – The front page of Wednesday’s London Evening Standard spelled out clearly the disgust shared by millions after China, South Korea and Indonesia faced match-fixing allegations in women’s badminton matches a day earlier in order to face less-accomplished opponents in the next round.
“Badminton players deliberately lose to get easier next round,” the newspaper declared above the main all-caps, two-deck banner headline: “CHINESE ACCUSED OF MATCH-FIXING.”
“Angry spectators who paid up to £80 demand refunds,” it continued. On Wednesday, Badminton World Federation secretary general Thomas Lund of Denmark announced that eight players had been booted from competition: South Korea’s Jung Kyung Eum and Kim Ha Na (partners), Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung; top-seeded pair Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and Indonesia’s Greysia Polli and Meiliana Jauhari.
The official reason given: “(For) not using one’s best efforts to win a match (and) conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive and detrimental to the sport.”
Four doubles tandems — from Russia, Australia, Canada and South Africa — that were third and fourth in groups A and C were given invitations to play in the quarterfinals, according to the BWF.
“We felt it was important to deal with this swiftly and ensure due process was taken in a way that was of the best interest to the players,” Lund told a news conference.
Indeed, the BWF reacted quickly to this embarrassing matter, informing coaches from Russia, Australia, Canada and South Africa at approximately 1:30 a.m. Wednesday that their players may be scheduled to compete later that day.
“The matches in question happened late last night,” Lund said. “We had to call the disciplinary decision, review the matches, and they were long matches, look at the evidence, get statements from the referees and umpires and give the players sufficient time to make appeals.”
Mishap in Portugal: A car ran into Eilish McColgan, Britain’s 3,000-meter women’s steeplechase champion, while she took part in a training camp in Portugal on Wednesday, the British Olympic Association reported.
McColgan, daughter of 1991 world champion Liz McColgan, is scheduled to compete in the 3,000 heats on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium.
“She received a blow to her left side, but she was still able to run the 2 miles (3.2 km) back to the team’s holding camp in Monte Gordo,” a BOA spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
“(She) has been declared fit to travel into the (Olympic) Village later today. It is not foreseen that the incident will threaten her competing at the games.”
According to a BOA news release, the collision sent the 21-year-old steeplechaser “flying onto the bonnet (hood) of the car.”