After watching a China versus South Korea Match on TV I was appalled at the blatant cheating of the players to lose their match in order to ensure an easier route into the latter stages of the tournament.
There has been another incident reported too involving Indonesia and South Korea again.
Having read the reports earlier today and watched some of the match yesterday, I am astounded that BWF has not taken swift and serious action. I understand there are huge political issues in the background here, that we know little about. However, it is clear that match “fixing” has been taking place for some time, especially in the lead up to Olympic qualification and this needs to be stamped out. Sadly, BWF appears to turn a blind eye to it.
In my opinion, some of these players, or should we say the coaches/decision-makers have long since forgotten what particiapting in the Olympics or any sport at professional level should be about. What we as spectators wish to see are players wearing a gold medal to honour the fact they have strived, sacrificed and above all, beaten rivals fairly on their way to winning the coveted gold medal. This is what every tournament is about, or should be about and the Olympic spirit should be present in every match of every event.
Sadly, this blatant cheating, supposed a copycat response from South Korean players to the Chinese players, resulted in the crowd booing the players and the referee showing the players a black card but NOT following through and properly issuing it. Shame, because this would have sent ripples through the badminton tournament world that this behaviour is totally unacceptable.
From what I can gather, the Chinese No1 seeded players were deliberately trying to lose to avoid playing the No2 seeded Chinese pair at the latter stages of the tournament. This, in my opinion is blatant cheating by the organisors of the team, although not unusual.
I believe the players should have been immediately disqualified, therefore ensuring they had no say in the outcome of the tournament and their place should have been taken by those who were knocked out by them.
Thankfully the BWF in a meeting later in the day, disqualified the players and gave their places to pairs who had previously been knocked out of the competition in the group stages.
On the one hand this is definitely the right thing to do – make an example of the pairs. However, there are many sides to this decision. Firstly, this sends a message to the badminton world that this behaviour will not be tolerated. Question is, is the disqualification a big enough punishment and is it the players who should be disqualified?
Second, this means there is potential that we as an audience are deprived of watching some of the best pairs compete in the latter stages of the competition. Why on earth should the world’s number 1 ranked pair, and winners of numerous tournaments need to perform like this? The answer is that they were told to do so. And that is where we have a problem. Yes, they may wish to save themselves having already qualified, but really, is there any need to not try? Why not do the opposite and go full out, win in two games and get off court knowing you’ve had more court time, getting used to the conditions, which is far better preparation for the next stage in the competition.
The biggest issue here is that the players were told to throw the games. The South Korean coaches admitted copying China. That was a bad judgement. However, the Chinese have been allowed to “fix” matches in order for players to qualify. Nobody can forget Lin Dan losing in 2008 All England final to Chen Jin which gave the latter sufficient points to qualify for the Olympic games in Beijing. And, history was repeated this year when Chen Jin won virtually the last qualifying event of the year, beating Lin Dan, which gave him sufficient points to overtake Peter Gade’s 4th place ranking which gained him qualification to London.
So, this kind of match fixing has been happpening for years and BWF has consistently turned a blind eye to it. Chen Jin is a brilliant player. But, if it wasn’t for his win, he would not have qualified. Personally, I believe BWF has a very difficult decision to make. Thankfully they made the right decision in disqualifying the players concerned in the matches. However, steps should be taken to address the greater concern that match fixing of sorts exists in our fantastic sport at the highest level and BWF doesn’t do a thing about it.
At the end of the day, China is a superb badminton and sporting nation. However, if they have to resort to cheating to win more tournaments, then something needs to be done. The problem is, I’m not sure BWF has the bottle do it.