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IOC eyes coaches’ role in badminton match-throwing scandal

China's Yu Yang hits a return next to teammate Wang Xiaoli (not seen) against South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na during their women's doubles group play stage Group A badminton match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Wembley Arena in this July 31, 2012 file photograph.


The International Olympic Committee wants to know if coaches were involved in the scandal at the badminton competition that saw eight athletes expelled from the tournament.

The players, from China, South Korea and Indonesia, have been told to leave the Olympic village by their national Olympic committees. Now the IOC wants those committees to investigate whether coaches or other team officials should be punished as well.

"We've asked [the national Olympic committees] to look into it. To look into to it and see if there are any issues to answer similarly for the coaches," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Thursday.

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The Badminton World Federation decided not to go after the coach, saying on Wednesday that only the athletes were involved in the fiasco, which saw players purposely try to lose preliminary matches in order to have a better position in the elimination round. Some badminton players said this kind of cheating is not uncommon in the sport and they said it is often mandated by coaches and other team officials.

One of the disqualified players, China's Yu Yang, has reportedly quit the sport, saying on Twitter: "This is my last time competing. Goodbye beloved badminton." Yu and partner Xiaoli Wang were considered by far the best womens doubles players in the world.

Meanwhile London Olympic organizers have announced that so many people are expected to attend the Games on Friday and Saturday that a shopping mall next to the Olympic Park will be closed to the general public. The Westfield mall, billed as Europe's largest shopping centre, opened a year ago and has been jammed during the Games. However, organizers say the mall simply won't be able to handle the number of people coming this weekend so the centre will only be open to Games ticketholders.

And it also appears the IOC won't be going after Dr. Dre and his popular Beats headphones. The headphones have been ubiquitous at the Olympics with many athletes wearing them as they prepare for competition. There had been reports Beats handed out headphones to some British athletes to wear. That could be a violation of IOC rules which forbid advertising by any non-Olympic sponsor. And it could be a major irritation for Panasonic which is a Games sponsor.

For now, though, the IOC doesn't appear to be concerned.

"If people are not clearly trying to promote that brand for monetary or other reasons then that's fine," Adams said. "We take a common sense approach. Clearly if we find that it's an issue where they are promoting a brand which is not an Olympic brand, which isn't giving money back to the Olympic movement, the sporting movement, then we would be interested to look into that."

He added that the IOC won't be going after the athletes involved. "It would not be the case where we would be searching out those athletes and kind of sanctioning them, particularly if they've acted in good faith. That's the question...Are they acting for commercial reasons or acting in good faith?"

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More


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