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Badminton open to Olympic changes after scandal


Associated Press

Updated August 5, 2012

LONDON (AP) The format of Olympic badminton will be reviewed to avoid a repeat of the match-throwing scandal that blighted the London Games, but the governing body of the sport said Sunday no changes were guaranteed.

Thomas Lund, general secretary of the Badminton World Federation, said a full tournament evaluation will be presented at a federation meeting in November, including a report on the debut of group play in London.

Four women's doubles pairs - the gold medal favorites from China, plus two from South Korea and one from Indonesia - took advantage of the format by trying to lose group matches to give themselves easier quarterfinal matchups. They were disqualified.

Lund said the federation regarded the group system, in which teams play a set of games before a knockout tournament, as "a big success" compared with having only a tournament.

"It has brought action to many, many more viewers and prolonged the Olympic experience for many, many more players," he said. "But there are things that can be improved to avoid similar incidents in future."

Lund said the federation had received no pressure from the International Olympic Committee to do more. He said badminton was not in danger of being dropped from the Olympics.

"No sports federation in its lifetime and history can avoid having some incidents. The same with the IOC," Lund said. He said the federation had dealt with the matter "swiftly and effectively."

The IOC has called on China, South Korea and Indonesia to investigate what role coaches had in the affair. The coaches of all four pairs have apologized, and Indonesia has asked for the format to be reviewed. Lund praised the reactions.

"A lot of Olympic dreams have unfortunately been destroyed," he said.

In his summary of the Olympic tournament, which ended Sunday, BWF president Kang Young Joong said the scandal would not detract from the action.

He said play at the London Games was "badminton at its best," and great theater and drama. He noted a record 51 nations participated, a record seven nations won medals, and each session was sold out.

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