EIGHT women’s badminton players were disqualified by the sport’s governing body on Wednesday for trying to lose on purpose to secure favorable draw, while the hosts finally claimed their first gold medals at the London Games after four days of agonizing wait.
The four doubles pairs – one from China, one from Indonesia and two from South Korea – were charged by the Badminton World Federation with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport.”
South Korea and Indonesia appealed the disqualification, but the BWF rejected the South Korean appeal and the Indonesia challenge was withdrawn. China accepted the federation’s decision.
“The behavior by Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli on court violated the Olympics ideal and the spirit of fair play. The Chinese delegation feels distressed over this matter,” the Chinese Olympic delegation said in a statement.
The eight disqualified players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and South Korean pairs Jung Kyun-eun/Kim Ha-na and Ha Jung-eun/Kim Min-jung and Indonesia’s Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.
Wang and Yu and their South Korean opponents Jung and Kim were booed and jeered by the spectators Tuesday night at the Wembley Arena when they deliberately hit shots out of court and served into the net. The Chinese pair eventually lost 21-14, 21-11 and avoided an early clash with their compatriots.
South Korea’s Ha/Kim and Indonesia’s Jauhari/Polii then took to the court and followed suit in an attempt to avoid meeting Wang and Yu in the quarter-finals.
Chinese badminton head coach Li Yongbo apologized for the scandal.
“As the head coach, I owe the fans and the Chinese an apology,” said Li. “Chinese players failed to demonstrate their fighting spirit of the national team. It’s me to blame.”
Not all bad news for China on the fifth full day of competition. The Asian powerhouse snatched four gold medals in table tennis, diving, weightlifting and swimming to raise their tally to 17, well ahead of the United States, who have 12.
In table tennis, Li Xiaoxia outclassed world champion Ding Ning in an all-Chinese final to win the women’s singles gold. Li won 11-8, 14-12, 8-11, 11-6, 11-4.
China has won every women’s singles title in table tennis since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1988.
In diving, four down, four to do: the gold medal won by Qin Kai and Luo Yutong in the men’s 3-meter synchro springboard was the fourth earned by the Chinese “Dream Team”. They are now halfway in their quest to clean sweep all eight gold medals.
China also picked up its fourth gold medal in weightlifting when Lu Xiaojun bettered his own world records in snatch and total to win the men’s -77kg class.
Lu snatched 175kg, 1kg better than his previous mark, and made a best clean and jerk of 204kg to register a combined total of 379kg, also 1kg better than his own world record.
“I was full of confidence throughout and I believe I could do it,” Lu said after the comptition.
Jiao Liuyang improved on her silver medal won four years ago to capture gold in women’s 200m butterfly in 2:04.06. Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia took silver in 2:05.25, with Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi third in 2:05.48.
Also in the pool, two more world records fell.
Hungarian Daniel Gyurta set the tone with a world record victory in the men’s 200m breaststroke in 2 minutes 7.28 seconds, shaving 0.03 off the previous mark set by Christian Sprenger of Australia in 2009.
America’s Rebecca Soni then added another world record in the women’s 200m breaststroke semis.
To the relief of tens of thousands of anxious Britons, Team GB scooped two gold following a series of disappointment in the opening days of their home Games.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning rowed to victory in the women’s pair, in front of a home crowd of 25,000 including Princes William and Harry.
“It’s so surreal, it will take forever to sink in,” said Glover.
Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, fresh from his Tour de France triumph, won the cycling time trial.
Singapore successfully pocketed its first Olympic bronze medal in table tennis women’s singles event on Wednesday after Feng Tianwei beat Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa in four straight sets.
Feng dominated the game, defeating Ishikawa 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 11-5. A former Chinese player who moved to Singapore in 2007, Feng also helped Singapore win a silver medal in women’s team event at Beijing 2008.
Ishikawa, 19, is one of the most promising young players in the world. Seeded number 4, she beat many veteran players to enter the top four in London.
China’s Ding Ning and Li Xiaoxia will later compete for the gold medal.
Helen Glover and Heather Stanning awarded Britain its first gold medal from the women’s pair in rowing at the London Olympic Games at the Eton Dorney Lake on Wednesday.
The British duo led from the start to finish the race in 7 minutes and 27.13 seconds. Australia’s Kate Hornsey and Sarah Tait won the silver medal in 7:29.86. The bronze medal went to New Zealand’s world champions Juliette Haighand Rebecca Scown in 7:30.19.
This is the first ever women’s rowing Olympic gold for Britain since women’s rowing was introduced at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Britain won 24 gold, 20 silver and 10 bronze medals in previous Olympic rowing history but none of them came from women’s rowing. It was also the first gold medal for Britian at the London Games.
After making history for Britain, Stanning said: “Ecstatic and shattered at the same time.”
Silver medalist Kate said: “We’re very happy, this is phenomenal. Sixth in Beijing (in the women’s eight) was devastating so we decided to have a smaller boat with less people to worry about. We didn’t even know where we were when we came over the line.”
“There are no words for this,” added she.
Sarah Tait said: “It’s so exciting. We were fourth halfway so we had to dig deep.”
Rebecca Scown was happy with a bronze finish. “It’s special to have something to take away from here. We have a fantastic partnership and it was the race we really wanted to put together.”
The United States finished in fourth place, only 0.2 seconds behind New Zealand. Reigning Olympic champions Romania were never in the contention and finished fifth. Germany lied in the sixth place. PNA/XINHUA