India might lodge a fresh appeal for a review of match results in Group B of the women's badminton doubles at the London Olympics. This after an earlier appeal by Indian duo Ashwini Ponappa and Jwala Gutta that a Japan-Chinese Tapei match in their group seemed fixed was rejected today. Eight players in that event have been disqualified today for throwing away their matches.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has disqualified China's Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli, South Korea's Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung, Jung Kyung-Eun and Kim Ha-Na also of South Korea, and Indonesian pair Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii, accusing them of attempting to manipulate the final standings in the first-round group stage, with two pairs who had already qualified apparently wanting to lose to secure a favourable draw in the next round.
All four teams had qualified for the knockouts and since they are out of the Olympics now, it remains to be seen how the rest of the tournament will be restructured.
The Indian shuttlers had said earlier today that they suspected that in their group, Japan's Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa deliberately lost to Yu Chin Chien of Chinese Taipei to get an easier draw in the next round - a result that pushed the Indians out of the quarterfinals. Ashwini Ponnappa told NDTV ealier in the day that she suspected foul play in the way Japan lost to Chinese Taipei, which affected India's chances in the women's doubles. "Japan was trying to avaoid playing Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals," Ponappa said.
Gutta and Ponnappa easily beat Singapore pair Shinta Mulia Sari and Lei Yao 21-16, 21-15 in their group B match on Tuesday. But the Indian pair was out of the competition because they conceded 2 points more than they should have in the group stage. They finished third in Group B behind Japan and Chinese Taipei based on the difference between points won and lost in all matches, though they tied with the two teams on number of matches won.
They appealed, but it was rejected by the Olympics Organising Committee. Ponappa's doubles partner Jwala Gutta said she was shocked. "We know both the players - the Japanese and Chinese Tipaei players. I was very shocked. I think Japanese wanted to lose the match; the other side had nothing to do with this." Speaking on matches being thrown away, Gutta said: "It is wrong and unfair. The importance of Olympics dies. We worked very hard and I am very proud of myself. If given a chance we are ready to go into the quarterfinals."
The BWF has charged the players disqualified today 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". A Group A match between the powerful Chinese pairing of Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli and unseeded South Korean pair Jung Kyung and Kim Ha Na came under the scrutiny of the BWF after the Chinese lost heavily. The longest rally in the match was just four shots.
Their defeat meant Yu and Wang avoided playing fellow Chinese pair Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, who had finished second in Group D. Yu said after the match: "We've already qualified, so why would we waste energy? It's not necessary to go out hard again when the knockout rounds are tomorrow."
A Group C match in which South Korean third seeds Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min-Jung beat Indonesian pair Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii was also investigated by the governing body. Tournament referee Torsten Berg came on to court during that match to warn the players about their conduct and was thought to have shown a black card - meaning a dismissal - but it was apparently rescinded.