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Match-Throwing in Badminton, Shameful and Foolish
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Four Korean athletes from two teams competing in women's doubles badminton at the London Olympics were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for "match-throwing." The players tried to lose a game in the preliminary round in order to avoid playing against a strong pair in the tournament stage of the games.

The Chinese and Indonesian pairs who played against the Korean players were also disqualified. This is the first time anything like this has happened at the Olympics. The BWF announced that their decision to disqualify the players was in line with federation regulations that prohibit actions injuring sportsmanship and encourage players to compete at their best to win a match.

The foreign press reported, "Badminton has become a farce due to attempts to throw a match by Chinese and Korean athletes," and that "The half-hearted match by the Korean and Chinese players is an insult to sports."

On July 22, the athletes on the badminton national team train at an indoor court near Brunel University, the venue for the London Olympics training camp. Kim Hana (center), who competed in the women's doubles, is one of the players disqualified for throwing the match. London | The Olympic Photo Group

This incident has sunk the status of Korea as a sports powerhouse--a status Korea acquired through sweat and hard work--and it has brought international disgrace.

The match-throwing in question was so obvious, that it made the spectators blush. The athletes aimed at the net during their serves and intentionally put more force to their smashes to send the shuttlecock out of bounds. A rally in which players pass the shuttlecock back and forth was absent.

The crowd who watched expecting a world-class match let out a stream of boos and reproaches. Although the judge, who had had enough, gave the players a verbal warning, the ludicrous game continued. As for the BWF decision to disqualify the players, the players got what they deserved.

Yet, not knowing any better, the Korean national team and the Badminton Association appealed saying, "This is unfair since the Chinese started it." Of course, their appeal was not accepted. They should have accepted the consequences and deeply repented their actions.

The Chinese players, Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, who began to throw the match to avoid competing against the world's number one pair, fellow Chinese colleagues, at the quarterfinals. | Newsis

The reason such an embarrassing incident occurred at the Olympics--with the whole world watching--is because of an excessive obsession with the Olympic medal. In reality, the status of the individual player and the country is evaluated only by the medal they get, which results in a loss of sportsmanship.

However, such a reality is all the more cause for us to respect the Olympic Creed: "The important thing is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle." From this perspective, any kind of match-fixing including match-throwing is unacceptable on any account.

We should strictly hold the coaches and athletes, those concerned with the match-throwing, responsible, regardless of the disciplinary measures by the BWF. This London badminton tragedy should be an opportunity for all of us to seriously reflect on the Olympic spirit and sportsmanship.

Copyright The Kyunghyang Shinmun. All rights reserved. Reproduction and redistribution without permission absolutely prohibited.

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