Who ever thought that the biggest scandal of this year’s Olympics would take place in badminton? It was on Tuesday that four teams competed, or at least faced off against each other and tried to prove who could be the worst.
During the women’s competition a South Korean team, an Indonesian team, and two Chinese teams were all disqualified for throwing their matches and trying to lose the game. All of this so that they could be paired up against easier matches in the next round, and move on to the highest podium. Instead, eight women are headed home. And now, one of those Chinese players, Yu Yang, has quit the game altogether.
It was during Yang’s match that things practically came to a standstill. Yang had already won a gold medal in 2008, and playing with equally skilled partner, Wang Xiaoli. Together they faced off against South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na; but neither pair on either side of the net was putting up any fight. Or movement at all, really. Time after time each team served birdies directly into the net, or let it drop out of bounds completely while standing there and watching it. Clearly something was up, and the officials knew it.
First came the warning from the ref at the side of the net that the crowd was booing, and they really should just get on with it and play. When that wasn’t enough and the abysmal play continued, an Olympic official had to come out and warn them of disqualification. When they wasn’t enough, disqualification from the competition it was — them and two other teams.
South Korea and Indonesia are appealing the disqualifying decision of The Badminton World Federation. However, China says that it fully understands and respects their decision; and that an investigation of their own is also under way.
Perhaps already fearing the consequences of that investigation, or perhaps just bitterly disappointed at having her London Olympic dreams shattered, Yu Yang has already quit the game of badminton.
“This is my last time competing,” Yu Yang wrote on her own personal blog after the decision had come down. “Goodbye Badminton World Federation, goodbye my beloved badminton. You have heartlessly shattered our dreams.”