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Eight Olympic badminton players disqualified 3 1

1y ago


LONDON (USA TODAY) — Cheating or clever gamesmanship? Violation of the Olympic ideal ... or a strategic business-as-usual gambit? Ethical and philosophical debates aside, in what is believed to be an Olympics first - expulsion of multiple athletes for match-throwing -eight female badminton players from three Asian nations were disqualified Wednesday from the London Games. Why would any Olympian intentionally try to lose or tie, as was the case with the Japanese women's soccer team? The badminton players - caught in a net of deceit - did not use their best effort to win qualifying matches a night earlier at Wembley Arena because they wanted a more favorable draw in doubles competition, ruled the Badminton World Federation. The federation banned the players from China, South Korea and Indonesia. An appeal by South Korea was denied. Federation officials concluded that the players conducted themselves in a manner that was "clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport." The International Olympic Committee still could remove the players' accreditation and force them to vacate the athletes' village. It also can order further investigation. "The international federation took the right action in disqualifying the athletes, and definitely that was the way to go,'' IOC President Jacques Rogge told The Associated Press. The same disciplinary option was not sought against the coach of the Japanese women's soccer team. Norio Sasaki persuaded his team to play for a 0-0 tie with South Africa on Tuesday to avoid a quarterfinals trip to Scotland. What in the name of Pierre de Coubertin is going on here? "Bewilderment," was the initial reaction by Robert Parham, executive editor of and executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. "There are a variety of questions people (should) ask: Have the players violated the game's code of conduct? Another would be, is this a practiced strategy in badminton or an exception?" Similar ethical quandaries shadow other sports, and sometimes there seems to be no clear-cut answers. If a Major League Baseball player acts as if he is hit by a pitch but is not, to force home the winning run, is that cheating ... or gamesmanship? If an NFL punter fakes being run into by a defender - fooling an official and drawing a penalty flag to change a game's outcome ... - is that a reprehensible tactic? To wit: If a team's goal is to win gold, shouldn't it do everything in its power to mint that dream? No doubt de Coubertin would have disagreed with that premise. The founder of the International Olympic Committee, a French idealist and father of the modern-day Games, once said: "The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well." The offending teams meekly laid down their arms, leaving some of their dismayed countrymen with utter disdain. Before the disqualifications, China's Lin Dan, the No. 2-ranked men's singles player, said through an interpreter that badminton would be damaged. "This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit," he told the AP.