The Badminton World Federation kicked some of the biggest stars of the sport out of the Olympics Wednesday for purposely trying to lose a match.
Eight players in all from the women's doubles tournament were expelled, and play went on without them despite the appeals that were filed on their behalf.
Fans at the badminton venue were stunned to see players in two doubles matches Tuesday hitting serves into the net and otherwise not giving a reasonable effort. All four teams involved in the matches had clinched spots in the quarterfinals, but the outcome of the matches they were playing would determine their next opponent.
Since it appeared to them that a loss would be more beneficial than a win, a loss became the goal and when the knowledgeable crowd became aware what was happening, boos rang out in Wembley Arena.
It did not take long Wednesday for the world governing of badminton to take action.
The world's top-ranked women's doubles team made up of China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang was disqualified. So were South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung, who are ranked third in the world.
The teams of Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari of Indonesia and Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na of South Korea were also removed.
Officials said the players had been charged with violations of sections 4.5 and 4.16 in the federation's code of contact. One of those involves "not using one's best efforts to win a match." The other speaks of "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport."
"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," BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said.
The gravity of the move became obvious when the quarterfinals were held later Wednesday.
An entire half of the draw was altered by the disqualifications, giving teams from Russia, South Africa, Canada and Australia a chance for a medal.
Valeria Sorokina and Nina Vislova of Russia along with Canadians Alex Bruce and Michele Li eventually won quarterfinal matches and at least one of those teams will, indeed, win a medal.
The Chinese Olympic delegation also was investigating the Chinese players' conduct, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"The Chinese sports delegation take the incident in the women's badminton doubles very seriously," a team official said. "The Chinese Olympic Committee has always advocated the fostering of the Olympic spirit on the playing field as well as the spirit of fair and just competition."
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