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Fans Jeer Olympic Badminton Players for Deliberate Poor Play

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Aug. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Fans jeered the Chinese and South Korean Olympic women’s badminton doubles teams for poor play that drew a caution from the umpire and possible punishment from the sport’s governing body.

World champions and top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli from China and Korea’s Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na had already made the quarterfinals. Korea won the Group A tie 2-0 to set up a meeting with China’s Tian Quing and Zhao Yunlei. By losing, the Chinese pair can’t meet their compatriots until the final.

The match referee warned the players at 14-10 in the first game after several serves from both teams hit the net. Tournament referee Torsten Berg of Denmark was called and told the teams that they faced punishment if they didn’t compete properly. South Korea head coach Sung Han Kook placed the blame with the Chinese pair.

“It’s not like the Olympics spirit to play like this,” Sung said at London’s Wembley Arena. “How could the No. 1 pair in the world play like this? They start playing mistakes.”

The four women are among eight Olympic female doubles players who were later charged by the Badminton World Federation with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match,” the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.

A second Korean pair, the third-seeded Ha Jung Eun and Kim Min Jung, and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii, were also warned by Berg during their match yesterday, the BBC said, adding that both pairs had also already qualified for the knockout stages.

Disciplinary Hearing

A disciplinary hearing will be held today, the BBC added.

Yu, Wang, Jung and Kim were booed by the crowd as they exited after the South Korean pair won 21-14, 21-11.

Yu told journalists that she and her partner were already through and were conserving energy for the elimination stage.

“If we’re not playing the best, it’s because it doesn’t matter,” she said. “The most important thing is the elimination match.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Elser at the London Olympic Park at celser@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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