China 'cheats' in the dock again after badminton fiasco
Eight women's doubles players charged with trying to lose games as angry fans boo
THE CHINESE Olympic team is in the dock once again after eight badminton players were charged with trying to throw matches at the London Games.
Fans watching the women's doubles at Wembley Arena yesterday booed and jeered as two Korean teams, a Chinese pair and an Indonesian couple tried to avoid winning in an apparent attempt to get a favourable draw in the next round.
The four teams have now all been charged by the Badminton World Federation with "not using one's best efforts to win a match", but observers say the blame lies with the Chinese, whose Olympic team is already under pressure over doping allegations aimed at their swimmers.
Yesterday, Chinese badminton top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang and South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na were booed off court after what The Daily Telegraph described as an "extraordinary match in which players regularly served into the net or hit wide apparently on purpose". The Times said it was "ludicrous".
Both pairs were already into the last 16, with the winners set to face the Chinese second seeds, Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei (pictured above). The Telegraph explains that an unexpected loss by Tian and Zhao in an earlier round had confused the draw.
The Korean pair eventually won that game, keeping the two Chinese teams apart and prompting the South Korean to attack China for ignoring the Olympic spirit. Yang later claimed that she and her partner had been "conserving energy".
But with the draw now queered, the crowd's mood did not improve when a similar scenario unfolded during the game between the South Korean number three seeds and a pair from Indonesia. At one point match referee Thorsten Berg disqualified Indonesia but they were reinstated after an appeal.
The Korean pair eventually won the second match, and will now play the Chinese top seeds.
Former Great Britain silver medallist Gail Emms was upset. "It was a disgrace," she said. "I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport."
Bulgarian singles player Petya Nedelcheva also blamed China. She told The Guardian: "China control everything... they did it so many times last year, they didn't play against each other in 20 matches. They do what they want."