Badminton: Lord Coe hits out at 'depressing' and 'unacceptable' women's pairs amid match-throwing allegations


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The Independent Online

An apparent attempt by four women's doubles pairs to throw Olympic badminton matches is "depressing" and "unacceptable", Lord Coe said today.

In scenes of farce at Wembley Arena last night, a pair from China, two from South Korea and another from Indonesia appeared to want to lose in an attempt to manipulate the draw.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe condemned their questionable tactics today but LOCOG said it would not refund tickets for the matches.

Asked about his own feelings about last night's play, Lord Coe said: "Depressing. Who wants to sit through something like that."

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) launched disciplinary proceedings following the furore. Its decision is expected to be announced later.

The sporting body has confirmed all four pairs would face charges of "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".

All athletes involved are still included in the order of play with their quarter-finals scheduled for the evening session.

Lord Coe said: "The sadness of it is I was actually at the badminton yesterday and I saw a British competitor narrowly fail to progress but the games were incredibly competitive in front of really large enthusiastic audiences - unacceptable.

"I know the (Badminton World Federation) really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable."

The action drew deep frustration, sparking fury among spectators who jeered the players as serves were deliberately hit into the net and shots hit wide.

All four pairs had already qualified for the last eight meaning that the only issues at stake were the final placings in the first-round group stage.

The fiasco began when Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang started to show little interest in beating Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to finish top of Group A.

Coming second would have meant avoiding compatriots and second seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei at least until the final.

Tian and Zhao had been sent off their natural path to the final as second seeds by defeat to Denmark's Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen earlier in the day.

The Koreans responded to China's antics by copying them and referee Thorsten Berg emerged to warn all the players.

The match restarted and the Koreans went on to win 21-14 21-11. The startling statistic revealed the longest rally in the first game had been just four strokes.

The matter did not end there as a second Korean pair, the third seeds Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, then attempted to engineer defeat in their match against Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

Their motive was apparent retaliation to avoid Wang and Yu in the quarter-finals, an outcome they failed to achieve as they eventually won 18-21 21-14 21-12.

The Indonesians were not bystanders in the affair either as they responded to the Koreans by trying to lose themselves.

With the crowd getting increasingly restless, Berg again intervened and brandished the black card to disqualify the players.

He quickly rescinded his decision on protest but returned courtside, despite an attempt to restrain him by the Indonesia coach, as the histrionics - now including time-wasting - continued.