Olympics badminton: Eight women disqualified from doubles

Eight badminton players have been disqualified from the women's doubles competition after being accused of "not using one's best efforts to win".

Two pairs from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia made a series of basic errors in Tuesday's matches.

All four pairs were accused of wanting to lose, in an attempt to manipulate the draw for the knockout stage.

A South Korean appeal was rejected by the Badminton World Federation,  while Indonesia withdrew an appeal.

As well as the "not using best efforts" charge, the players were also accused of "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport".

Their places in the last eight will be taken by the pairs who finished third and fourth in the qualifying groups concerned.

Some players had blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the catalyst. In the round-robin format, losing one game can ultimately lead to an easier match-up in the next round. However, one Chinese player said their actions were due to them trying to preserve energy ahead of the knockout stages.

Olympic disqualifications

Angel Valodia Matos kicks referee, 2008
  • 2008 - Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian is disqualified and stripped of his Olympic bronze medal after refusing to accept it in protest at a penalty call in his semi-final.
  • 2008 - Cuban Angel Valodia Matos (above) is banned for life after kicking a taekwondo referee when he was disqualified for taking too long to resume after receiving treatment for an injury.
  • 2004 - Iranian judoka Arash Miresmaili is disqualified for being overweight after allegedly going on a politically motivated eating binge.
  • 1984 - Boxer Evander Holyfield is controversially disqualified for repeatedly punching on the break in a fight against Kevin Barry when clearly dominant.
  • 1976 - The entire male Soviet pentathlon team is disqualified when it is discovered that Boris Onischenko 's epee had a button inside which, when pressed, activated the electronic scoring machine.

In the first women's doubles match at Wembley Arena on Tuesday night, fans jeered China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na .

The longest rally in the first game lasted only four shots, with match referee Thorsten Berg appearing on court at one point to warn the players. South Korea won the Group A match, which lasted 23 minutes, 21-14 21-11.

Both pairs knew the winners would face China's Tian Quing and Zhao Yunlei. With Yu and Wang losing, the two Chinese pairings could have only met in the final.

Speaking before the disqualification verdict was released, South Korea's coach Sung Han-kook, said: "The Chinese started this. They did it first."

But Yu said the Chinese were aiming to preserve energy ahead of the knockout stages. "This is the first time we've played them and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds," she said.

A later match between South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung and Indonesian pair Meiliana Juahari and Greysia Polii was played out in a similar atmosphere.

Referee Berg returned to court and brandished the black card, signalling disqualification, but it was rescinded and the match resumed when the Indonesians protested.

Both pairs had also already qualified for the knockout stages, with the winners of Group C to play Yu and Wang and the Korean pairs to face each other if Ha and Kim lost. The Koreans won 18-21 21-14 21-12.

Gail Emms, a badminton Olympic silver medallist for Great Britain in 2004, who was at the event for BBC Sport, said: "I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport.

"This is the Olympic Games. This is something that is not acceptable. The crowd paid good money to watch two matches."

China's Olympic sports delegation has begun an investigation into the matches, state media reported. The country's Olympic Committee said it opposed behaviour which violated "sporting spirit and morality".

Further action could be taken based on the results of the investigation, the spokesman said in a report published by Xinhua news agency.