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Aussies fail to capitalise on shock chance
By Nick Perry
04:45 AEST Thu Aug 2 2012

A tanking scandal which rocked the London Olympics provided Australian badminton players Renuga Veeran and Leanne Choo with a shock second chance at a medal.

Knocked out of the competition on Monday, Games debutantes Choo and Veeran found themselves thrust back into the doubles quarter-finals on Wednesday when eight of the world's best players were booted out of the competition after farcical on-court scenes.

The Badminton World Federation disqualified four doubles pairs, Chinese world champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China, world No.3 South Koreans Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, No.8 South Koreans Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and 13th-ranked Indonesians Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii.

It followed a disciplinary hearing launched after outrage from jeering fans who had to watch as the four teams appeared to play badly deliberately in a bid to lose and manipulate a more favourable quarter-final match up.

Their actions were described by London Games boss Seb Coe as "unacceptable".

The BWF later rejected an appeal from South Korea while Indonesia withdrew its appeal and China accepted the bans.

The expulsions meant Choo and Veeran became Australia's first Olympic quarter-finalists in the sport since 1992 but it counted for little.

Thrown back into action within hours of the DQs being handed down, the Australian pair lost 21-9 18-21 21-18 to Canada's Alex Bruce and Michele Li.

Their team head coach Lasse Bundgaard praised the BWF for the decisive action against the eight players.

"It's good news for the girls, it's good news for badminton," Bundgaard said.

"What happened last night was really bad for our sport."

The International Olympic Committee also applauded the BWF for its "swift and decisive action".

"Such behaviour is incompatible with the Olympic values," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

Teams pointed to the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem.

The round-robin format can allow results to be manipulated to earn an easier matchup in the knockout round.

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