Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem. The round-robin format can allow results to be manipulated to earn an easier matchup in the knockout round.
The Chinese players tried to rig the draw after its second-seeded pair unexpectedly lost to a Danish team in the morning. That placed the No. 2 pair on course for a semifinal meeting with Wang and Yu, instead of the final.
Wang and Yu then deliberately set out to lose so they would go into the bottom half of the draw. They hardly exerted themselves, and neither did the South Koreans, drawing jeers of derision from the crowd and warnings from the umpire and tournament referee Torsten Berg. Wang and Yu eventually got what they wanted by losing.
An hour later, the South Korean team of Ha and Kim took to the court and decided to also try to lose to the Indonesians to avoid meeting Wang and Yu in the quarterfinals. Early on, all four players were warned by the umpire for not trying hard, and Berg returned and produced black cards to disqualify both pairs, but the cards were rescinded on a promise of better play.
One of the world’s top male players, 2004 Olympic singles champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, called the situation a “circus match.”
China’s Lin Dan, the Olympic men’s champion in singles, said the sport is going to be damaged.
“Especially for the audience,” he said through an interpreter before the disqualifications were announced. “This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it’s not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn’t try will just leave the Olympics.”
Beijing badminton silver medalist Gail Emms said the matches were embarrassing to watch.
“It was absolutely shocking,” she said. “The crowds were booing and chanting ‘Off, off, off.’”
AP Sports Writers Stephen Wilson and Gerald Imray contributed to this report.
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