Back to top

London Day Five: The global badminton crisis

"Eight disqualified for underperforming at badminton" is one of those sentences that I had failed to predict that I would be using during the London Olympics. It happened on Wednesday when four teams from the women's badminton competition - 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."

It started when China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, the top seeds, tanked their match on Tuesday night against Jung Kyun-Eun and Kim Ha-Na in order to avoid meeting their Chinese counterparts before the medal rounds. Lots of missing the shuttle or hitting it into the net ensued in their Group A match. So inspirational was this contest that Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung (South Korea) and Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii (Indonesia) tried similar tactics in their Group C non-clash later that night.

This type of behaviour is not new to the sport, as The Telegraph notes in this Q&A about the Great Badminton Calamity. Xinhua News Agency, to their credit has reported the shame of their Chinese representatives. This morning, the BWF issued this statement outlining the punishment against the eight players and the revised quarter-final draw.

There is no suggestion that these matches were being thrown for money. That said, gawd knows how much dosh is changing hands on Olympic spot-betting in the denizens of the cybergambling universe.

Wednesday's highlights had to be the two gold medals to Great Britain. A big win in the women's coxless pairs to Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, while Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins backed up to win the men's time trial, his fourth career Olympic gold, his seventh medal since 2000. Now if only cyclists had as many events in the Olympic Games as swimmers or gymnasts...

And speaking of swimming, for the second consecutive night a favoured swimmer was pipped by 0.01 of a second in a medal race. Missile Magnussen (of Weapons of Mass Destruction fame) came second to the USA's Nathan Adrian. Here's a report from Adrian's alma mater UC Berkeley, whose sports program has already won eight medals at these Games.

Australia ended Day Five with 1 gold 6 silver 2 bronze - the most successful of all nations with 1 gold medal. Looking forward to the National Outrage over the coming days and weeks.

At least we don't hit our shuttlecocks into the net on purpose.

For my Youtube do Dia, and making his second appearance in such a capacity, the man widely tipped to be a future Tory Prime Minister of the UK. On Monday, Mayor Boris regaled readers of the Telegraph with his passion for near-naked beach volleyball players. By Wednesday, he was demonstrating the future of London public transport: