The overall theme of the Olympics: countries all around the world send their top athletes to try their hardest and end up being the best. But what if you could actually help ensure that you have a chance for victory by throwing an earlier match? Would you do it?
This very predicament is what came up Tuesday in women’s badminton when the reigning world doubles champions and their Indonesian counterparts both threw matches to give them better positioning in the next stage of the event.
Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China were the first to do this strategic 'throw' along with the team of Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, in order to ensure that the two teams — ranked No. 1 and 2 respectively — would not meet until the finals. Both teams dumped serves and made simple, obvious mistakes that had the crowd booing their effort and got them warned by the umpire. That warning, however, was ignored and the Chinese women lost 21-14, 21-11.
This obvious attempt to throw a game was repeated in the next woman’s doubles between South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. Both teams, like the Chinese before them, were also warned for deliberately losing points. The Koreans would go on to win 18-21, 21-14, 21-12, as both teams were showered with boos from the capacity crowd in attendance.
Though in both cases the teams were already guaranteed spots in the final 16, they were later charged by the Badminton World Federation for "not using one's best efforts to win a match," according to itv news.
Yu defended their actions during the match by saying they were only trying to save energy for the knockout rounds starting on Wednesday.
"If we're not playing the best it's because it doesn't matter — if we're the first or the second (in the group) we're already through. The most important thing is the elimination match tomorrow." Yu said.
The South Koreans, who must stink worse than Indonesia at tanking a game, filed a protest with the referees against the Chinese.
"It's not like the Olympics spirit to play like this," said head coach Sung Han-kook. "How could the No. 1 pair in the world play like this? They start playing mistakes. Their attitude is absolute crap."
Though it does go against the spirit of the Olympics to not give 100 percent at all times, considering the way the event is formatted, this type of behavior is almost encouraged in cases like this. This sentiment was shared by Austrailia coach Lasse Bundgaard.
"I totally understand why they are doing it. Now the Indonesians are doing the same but it's not a good situation to be put in." Bundgaard said.
With the elimination matches beginning Wednesday, you can expect all participants to be giving their all from here on out.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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