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Expulsions could help badminton with IOC

india Updated: Aug 02, 2012 13:45 IST

AFP
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Olympic badminton women's doubles players were glad to see eight expulsions issued for match-fixing by the Badminton World Federation on Wednesday before the scandal risked the sport's Olympic status.

"Something had to be done or it would have been a slap in the face of the IOC (International Olympic Committee)," said South African Michelle Edwards, one of eight women to reach the quarter-finals due to the disqualifications.

"The last thing we want is badminton to be thrown out of the Olympics for future generations. It would be sad if badminton was thrown out over something like that.

"They had to do something. It would have been shocking if they hadn't."

Denmark's Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Juhl upset China's Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 22-20, 21-12 on Tuesday, prompting all four duos in later matches to send shuttlecocks into the net or beyond the boundaries time and again, spectators booing as each duo tried to lose to avoid facing the Chinese early.

"It's a bit our fault this circus has happened," Pedersen said.

"It's not good for the sport when they play like that," Juhl said.

On Wednesday, the federation expelled Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and South Korean duos Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na and Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung.

"Definitely it was a good decision," said Australia's Renuga Veera.

"When the Chinese are trying very hard to lose, it's unfair to us," said Taiwan's Cheng Wen Hsing said.

But Juhl and Pedersen were hurting after losing their quarter-final to Japan's Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa 22-20, 21-10 and seeing Russian and Canadian pairs, who struggled in the preliminary round but were promoted into the knockout round after the expulsions, reach the last four.

"A big opportunity lost," Juhl said.

"It's very difficult to be here right now and see the quarter-finals. They have not won a single match in the group and they get a fine quarter-final. It's difficult to see but what can we do.

"I hope Russia and Canada will give us a thank you. We are the reason Russia or Canada will have a medal and I would like to have it myself."

The pairs given second chances by the expulsions played each other, all on short notice.

Canada's Alex Bruce and Michele Li edged Australia's Leanne Choo and Veeran 21-9, 18-21, 21-18 for a semi-final berth aginst the Japanese duo. Bruce was unapologetic about Canada's second-chance path to the semis.

"It's upsetting it had to happen at the Olympics. It was unfortunate it happened," she said. "Right or wrong it happened. We're here to take advantage of the opportunity."

Russia's Nina Vislova and Valeria Sorokina beat Michelle Edwards and Annari Viljoen 21-9, 21-7 for a semi-final against Tian and Zhao, who ousted Taiwan's Cheng Wen Hsing and Chen Yu Chin 21-10, 21-14.

"We didn't know about the controversy," Zhao said. "We were focusing on our match."

Vislova blamed a draw format, which has round-robin in the first round, that opened the door to match-fixing.

"I think maybe it is the fault of the organizers. Everyone wants to have their best chance at a medal," Vislova said. "But we are playing for the spectators. They want to see a show. You need to do your best for the people.

"You have to punish everyone who gets involved in such a situation. It will be a good lesson for everyone."

When South Korean singles player Bae Yeon-Ju learned her compatriots had been thrown out of the Olympics, she said she felt goosebumps.

"They prepared so hard for these Olympics and now they don't have a chance to play," she said. "I feel sad for them."