The Washington Post

No money back in badminton

Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympic organizing committee, pronounced the badminton match-throwing scandal, which provoked a crowd at Wembley Arena to erupt in boos and has resulted in the expelling of eight athletes, as “depressing.”

Eight badminton players that were disqualified Wednesday in a match-fixing scandal at the Olympic badminton tournament in London. (Top Row L-R) South Korea's Kim Ha Na, Ha Jung-Eun, Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun. (Bottom Row L-R) Indonesia's Greysia Polii, Meiliana Jauhari and China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang. (AFP)

Coe, speaking at a daily briefing earlier Wednesday, added: “I mean, who wants to sit through something like that. … It’s not acceptable. It is not acceptable.”

Coe had attended some of the badminton earlier in the day and pronounced it “incredibly competitive” in front of “really large enthustiastic audiences.”

But other official responses were more tepid. IOC President Jacques Rogge also attended badminton at Wembley on Tuesday, but left shortly before the match-throwing began between teams from China, South Korea and Indonesia. Rogge refused to comment, and instead the IOC released this statement: “The IOC takes note of the Badminton Federation’s decision to disqualify eight athletes after their unsporting behaviour during yesterday’s competition. We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action. Such behaviour is incompatible with the Olympic values.”

Takes note?

Paul Deighton, chief executive of the London organizing committee, said no refunds would be offered to spectators who had to sit through the tanking festival. “You get into all sorts of strange precedents if people aren’t satisfied with what they see,” he said. “You don’t want to get into that territory because it’s grey and dangerous territory.”

Sally Jenkins is a sports columnist for The Washington Post.

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Rick Maese · August 1, 2012