Perfect Ed Sheeran & Andrea Bocelli
1 August 2012, 11:29
Disciplinary proceedings have been started after four women's doubles badminton pairs apparently tried to throw matches at the Olympics.
It's claimed they wanted to deliberately lose their games on Tuesday 31 July 2012 to get a better draw in the quarter finals.
Great Britain badminton star Gail Emms (below) - who won silver in Athens in 2004 and lives in Milton Keynes - has called for the eight players to be disqualified from the Olympics.
A statement from the Badminton World Federation confirmed that all four pairs - from China, South Korea and Indonesia - would face charges of "not using one's best efforts to win a match'' and "conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport''.
All the players were booed by an irate crowd as serves were deliberately hit into the net and shots hit wide and long on an embarrassing evening for the sport.
All four pairs had already qualified for the last eight meaning that the only issues at stake were the final placings in the first-round group stage.
The fiasco began when Chinese top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang started to show little interest in beating Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na to finish top of Group A.
Coming second would have meant avoiding compatriots and second seeds Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei at least until the final.
Korea's coach Sung Han-kook laid the blame squarely at the feet of China.
He said: "The Chinese started this. They did it first.
"It's a complicated thing with the draws. They didn't want to meet each other in the semi-final, they don't want that to happen.
"They [BWF] should do something about that.''
Yu claimed the Chinese tactics had simply been to preserve energy ahead of the knockout phase.
She said: "Actually these opponents really were strong. This is the first time we've played them and tomorrow it's the knockout rounds, so we've already qualified and we wanted to have more energy for the knockout rounds.''
Polii stopped briefly to reporters after her match to offer a Bulgarian explanation.
She said: "I don't know what happened. If that's the game, we have to accept all the things.
"Either they want to trust us - we play bad or we play good. That is our control. Our control is only to play as good as we can.''
Whatever reasons for the bizarre spectacle, it is certain to spark debate about the decision to introduce a round-robin stage as opposed to holding a straight knockout tournament.
The spotlight will also be cast once again on the Chinese, who dominate world badminton but have been accused of manipulation before.
Petya Nedelcheva, the Bulgarian women's singles 15th seed who had been playing on an adjacent court at the time of the first incident, was forthright in her general criticism.
She said: "China control everything. I don't know who controlled the match to lose but if it is China again, they did it so many times last year, they didn't play against each other in 20 matches. They do what they want.''
Nedelcheva's comments are supported by figures compiled by online magazine Badzine earlier this year which show that of the 99 all-Chinese matches played in major tournaments in 2011, 20 were walkovers.
Gail Emms (left) was watching in the arena.
She said: "It was a disgrace. We had four pairs on court trying to lose - very un-Olympic spirit.
"I'm furious. It is very embarrassing for our sport.''
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge had been at the badminton on the night the matches were played, but had left shortly before the drama unfolded.