IOC to investigate coaches' role in badminton scandal
London, Aug 2 (IANS) The investigation into the match-throwing scandal in Olympic badminton competitions is not over yet. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked for further inquiry to know if coaches and team officials were involved.
After a disciplinary hearing Wednesday morning, eight female badminton players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for trying to lose their group matches in a bid to secure favourable draw in the knock-out stage, reports Xinhua.
"We have asked to look into it to see if there are any issues to answer similarly for the coaches," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Thursday.
"It's important to make sure it's not just the athletes that are punished. The NOCs are making sure those athletes are now leaving the Village and making their way home," he added.
The eight disgraced players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, South Korean pairs Jung Kyun-eun/Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun/Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
They were booed by the spectators Tuesday night at the Wembley Arena when they deliberately hit shots out of court and served into the net.
South Korea and Indonesia appealed against the disqualification, but the BWF rejected the South Korean appeal and the Indonesian challenge was withdrawn. China did not appeal.
Hours after the scandal erupted, Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese badminton team, apologised in public.
"As the head coach, I owe the fans and the Chinese an apology," Li said. "Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit. It's me to blame."
But some blamed the group format for the controversy.
"The Badminton World Federation should never have allowed the round-robin format to replace the knockout tournament that has been used at previous Olympics. There was always going to be a risk of match-throwing with the new format," said Gail Emms, a former badminton player who won a silver medal for Britain in the 2004 Olympics.
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