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Olympic Badminton Players Disqualified For Playing To Lose
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London (CNN) -- Eight female badminton players were disqualified from the Olympics on Wednesday for trying to lose matches the day before, the Badminton World Federation announced after a disciplinary hearing.
The players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were accused of playing to lose in order to face easier opponents in future matches, drawing boos from spectators and warnings from match officials Tuesday night.
All four pairs of players were charged with not doing their best to win a match and abusing or demeaning the sport.
The Indonesian and South Korean pairs appealed the decision, the BWF said, and a decision on their appeals is expected later Wednesday.
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The charges result from two lackluster contests in London that angered the watching crowds as the doubles pairs appeared to be serving into the net on purpose.
The eight players concerned had all already qualified for the quarterfinals of the tournament before the final matches of the group stage Tuesday night.
British sports fans going into the Olympic Park on Wednesday called the scandal "shocking" after seeing parts of the matches on television.
"It's not in the spirit of the thing," said Kevin Button, from Ashford in Kent, just outside of London.
"And it's so disappointing for the people who came to see it," his wife Tina said. "It leaves a bit of a sour taste."
The disqualifications mean the world's No. 1 pair, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, are out of the competition.
In the first of the Tuesday matches under scrutiny, Wang and Yu played South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na in a game in which "neither side seemed to be exerting themselves," the official Olympic news service said.
After a several serves by both pairs went into the net, the tournament referee, Torsten Berg, was called to the court, the news service reported, "where he warned all four players amid a chorus of boos from the crowd."
The South Koreans eventually won the "repeatedly interrupted match," securing first place in their group, according to the news service. But that puts them in the same side of the draw as Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, a Chinese duo who are ranked No. 2 in the world.
The second match in question took place about an hour later, pitting South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung against the Indonesians Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Play in that contest was "sluggish early on," the Olympic news service reported, and Berg was called onto the court at least twice "with the crowd calling for the players to be sent off."
The Chinese Olympic delegation is also investigating the Chinese players' conduct, it said in a statement Wednesday.
"Upon learning the incident, the delegation leadership has ordered an investigation into what and why it happened," the statement said.
"The Chinese Olympic Committee has always advocated athletes carrying forward the Olympic spirit during competitions. We promote the spirit of fair and equitable competitions, and oppose any violations of such sports spirit and ethics for any reason or in any form," the delegation said.