THE HEAD of international badminton has defended the sport's position at the Olympics in light of the scandalous disqualification of eight athletes for deliberately throwing matches.
The bombshell that saw the Chinese top seeds, four South Korean athletes and an Indonesian pair ejected gave a reprieve to Australian duo Renuga Veeran and Leanne Choo, who went through to play Canada in the quarter-finals. The pair lost in three sets after losing the first then coming back to win the second.
As the competition was thrown into chaos, it emerged that India had made an official complaint against Japan, though that was dismissed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) whose chief, Thomas Lund, said he was "sorry" rather than "embarrassed" by the episode.
The case was condemned by London Games boss Sebastian Coe as "depressing" and "unacceptable" on Wednesday morning before a BWF disciplinary committee ruled that eight players had sought to lose their qualifying matches in an attempt to manipulate their draws.
The four sets of doubles teams were charged after matches on Tuesday littered with basic errors. Accused by badminton's international governing body of "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport", they were ultimately found guilty of trying to lose with the motive of improving their positions for the knockout stages.
"All such cases are never nice to deal with," Lund said on Wednesday afternoon.
"I think the most important thing for BWF as governing body is that we deal with such cases when and if they occur and we can deal with them in a firm and respectful way to the players and the people who have trained for so many years to get to this Olympics.
"You will never go through an era as governing body without having problems, but if you can't deal with the problems then you have a problem yourself."
None of the players disqualified were entered in other events in London so will take no further part in the Games. The banned athletes are Chinese world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, South Koreans Jung Kyun-eun, Kim Ha-na along, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Lund said the BWF had monitored the new round robin tournament for the Olympics in qualifying competition before the London Games, and had no reason to be concerned it would be rorted though the reality was very different.
Australia's badminton coach Lasse Bundgaard, who made a submission to the probe of the offending teams, applauded the ruling. "It is a good decision and the right thing to do," he said. "It sends the right signal that world badminton won't accept that kind of behaviour.
"It doesn't really influence us. We just thought how the incident would affect badminton. Our players will be ready to play."
According to reports, the head coach of South Korea, Sung Han-kook, admitted before the disciplinary hearing that his players threw their games, but he blamed the Chinese team for initiating the contest to lose so that the teams didn't have to meet again in the semi-finals.
"Who would want to sit through something like that?" Coe said on Wednesday morning before the disqualifications were confirmed."It's unacceptable. And I know he badminton federation really well and they will take that really seriously. It is unacceptable."
Bundgaard become involved in the case after lodging an official protest over the alarming 'contests' at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night that provoked booing from the crowd. The players served into the net repeatedly and hit wide.
Before the decision to disqualify the players was reached, London's Olympic organising committee said it would not refund tickets because spectators had watched other matches in the session.
"You get into all sorts of strange precedents if people aren't satisfied with what they see," London organising committee CEO Paul Deighton said on Wednesday morning.
"If you get into that territory it's very grey."