Updated with video:
Faster, Higher, Stronger. The motto of the Olympics were tarnished and shamed with the performance of Wang Xiaoli, Yu Yang, Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun. With top spot on offer in Group A, the two pairs gave one of the most disgraceful performances in the history of the sport and both capitulated resulting in neither pair wanting to win.
It was about how fast the Chinese pair could get off could, how high they think of themselves against the rest of the field and how strong they believed in the actions they chose to do on court. From when the Chinese pair took to the court after their introductions until both pair were viciously booed off court took under 30 minutes.
The warm-up offered no clue as to what lay ahead, as Kim served to Wang to start the match.
Wang Xiaoli clumsily drives Kim’s opening serve into the net to begin proceedings. Yu Yang signals with her right hand to Wang Xiaoli as she shadows a drive motion.
Yu Yang plays a lazy net shot from waist height into the net, before looking to the ground to suggest she thought it might have been short.
Kim Ha Na serves into the net.
Yu Yang’s serve is taken at knee-high by Jung, resulting in a mediocre drop from Wang that hits the bottom of the net, resulting in the Chinese player looking at the lights and claiming that was the reason for the poor shot.
Jung Kyung Eun flick serves down the line to Yu Yang, whilst the Chinese player watches the shuttle drop in before looking at the line judge for confirmation. The replay shows it was more than 3 inches in.
Jung serves to Wang, who pushes a full swing lift to the back which Kim soft drops back to the service line only for Yu Yang to half-push the shuttle into the middle of the net. The first boos ring out from the crowd at this point, with that being the longest rally of the match at 4 strokes.
Jung serves to Yu, who plays a knee-high lift to around three quarters deep into the Korean court whilst moving backwards resulting in a lazy drop from Kim landing in the middle of the net.
Wang serves to Kim, who plays an attacking push to the mid-court for a winner. Yu Yang looks to her partner whilst the Korean pair celebrate a winning point for the first time in the match.
Kim Ha Na is called for a service fault and offers a half-hearted motion of her service motion to the service judge.
Yu Yang serves into the net.
Jung serves to Yu, who drives the shuttle at Kim resulting in a drop return that clips the top of the cord that barely affects the shuttle but results in a push from Yu Yang going into the net.
Jung Kyung Eun is called for a service fault. She makes no attempt to contest the call.
Wang serves to Jung, who plays a knee-high lift deep into Yu Yang’s backhand corner. Yu plays a mid-court backhand clear into the centre of the court that Kim smashes into the middle of the net. Groans are heard throughout the arena.
Wang serves to Kim, who plays an flat lift almost off the carpet which Yu Yang looks certain to hit before realising just how far out the shot actually is.
Wang Xiaoli serves into the middle of the net. Ending the 3-point run of the Chinese pair.
Kim serves to Yu, who in a similar fashion to an earlier serve, plays a weak net shot that barely reaches the net. More whistles and jeers are heard.
Kim flicks Wang, who takes one step before lunging to dig-out a shot into the bottom of the net.
The mid-game interval shows the Korean coach complaining to the umpire about the Chinese “tactics” whilst the Chinese coaches spend around 15 seconds speaking to both players before returning to their chairs.
Kim Ha Na serves into the net.
Yu serves to Kim, who plays an attacking shot into the backhand rear corner of Wang, resulting in a weak drop to the middle of the court that Kim lifts out of the side of the court and lands on the carpet.
Yu Yang serves into the net. She shakes her head before firing the shuttle in between Jung’s legs to boos and jeers of the crowd.
Jung Kyung Eun serves into the net, whilst Yu Yang claims not to be ready for the serve. Jung Kyung Eun serves the next service – a flick serve out.
Wang Xiaoli serves into the net. It is at this point that the umpire finally gets involved, motioning all the players towards him to show his discontent at the match to date.
13-9 to 14-11
All four players take turns at serving into the net. The crowd have turned on both pairs, with sarcastic groans as well as general annoyance at the passage of play.
Kim Ha Na flicks her service out.
Yu Yang serves into the net. Yu Yang, as she had done for most of the first game begins a conversation with Wang Xiaoli who seemed the most bothered by what is transpiring on court.
At this point, one of the officials comes onto court to issue a warning to both players:
“We are here to play, to compete. If you don’t play, both teams can be disqualified, both teams can be disqualified and go out of the competition. Understand?”
.Jung serves to Wang, who for the first time in the match attacks a serve and hits a cross net winner. Cheers ring out from the crowd.
Wang Xiaoli serves into the net and promptly looks at her racket.
Expectations of more than a four shot rally are heightened, before Yu Yang hits a backhand shot that flies under the net. The Korean coach stands up and looks unimpressed.
Kim Ha Na serves off the carpet. The biggest boos of the match so far are heard.
Yu Yang serves into the net. Yet more boos are heard.
Hopes for another lengthy rally are quashed by Yu Yang’s drive flying into the net as the Chinese player seems to be instigating most of the tactics. The Chinese coaches look relaxed on their chairs as they watch the world number 1 pair face six game points.
Another four shot rally ends the opening game, with Wang pushing a shot into the top half of the net to ensure their defeat in the first game.
The first game interval sees the Korean coach sarcastically applaud Wang and Yu as he goes to speak to his players. The Chinese coaches spend 15 seconds conversing with Wang and Yu whilst the official reappears and threatens to disqualify both teams.
Both pairs appear back on court before the line judges have finished sweeping the court, almost a minute before the interval is over.
The second game is a more “competitive” contest, with the service faults disappearing and the average rally length almost tripling from the opening game. The Chinese lose the second game, with Yu Yang instigating most of the points that the world number 1 pairing lost.
The overall tone was one of a complete lack of care or respect at what they were doing and has put a black cloud over the rest of the competition.
Yu Yang later confirmed that their actions on course were to ensure an easier passage into the late rounds and that the pair had already qualified so there was no need to expend extra energy. It also meant that the Chinese pairs couldn’t meet until the final.
A second match was surrounded in controversy between Ha and Kim who took on Jauhari and Polii, with the winning pair set to take on Wang and Yu. Both pairs were black carded and were disqualified before being recinded and the 3rd seeded Ha and Kim won the match.
Tonight’s farce will almost ensure the end of group stages at major competitions, with the manipulation of the draw on show this evening. Several high-profile players have spoken out against the two matches, with some claiming that disqualification is the only option as given a similar situation the players would do it again and again.
The real loser tonight is badminton – it will make the headlines for all the wrong reasons as the competitions enters its knockout phase as the world’s elite pairings have somewhat successfully rigged a draw to ensure the possibility for gold and silver in certain events.
There were just 64 shots played in the opening game, with a passage of 9 consecutive service errors where the match referee was on court twice.
There are no winners tonight. Badminton must attempt to recover some pride in the remaining five days of play.