Temporary bans slapped on scandal tainted shuttlers

The Indonesian women’s doubles pair involved in a thrown-match Olympic scandal has been slapped with a ban of four months by the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) as the accused players indulged in unfair sport practices for securing a more favorable draw later in the London Olympics 2012.

Women’s doubles duo Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were one of four pairs who were disqualified at London Olympics 2012 for attempting to lose a match in an effort to secure a more favorable quarter-final draw. Coach Paulus Firman has also been hit with the same sanction and the sanction will be backdated to the incident in August.

The suspension means Greysia Polii cannot participate in the PON Riau 2012 that will take place from 9 to 19 September 2012 in Pekanbaru. It would also mean that Polii and Meiliana cannot participate in the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold 2012 this month in Palembang as well as Japan Open and China Open. Meiliana Jauhari told a local daily newspaper that she would accept decision of the PBSI and she and her partner are known to have asked to be able to play in local tournaments.

The poor performance of Indonesia in London Olympics prompted the national body to call back former Olympic gold medalist Hendra Setiawan who will partner Muhammad Ahsan; the duo would make their debuts together on the international stage in Denmark and French Super Series in October.

South Korea initially hit their four players, Jung Kyung-eun, Kim Ha-na, Ha Jung-eun, and Kim Min-jung, with lifetime bans but then reduced the ban to two years and then six months. Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (who retired after her disqualification) of China, who had been top seeds, were asked to render a public apology by their national association.

All the four badminton players were charged under Player Code of Conduct of the Badminton World Federation 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.”

Yacob Rusdianto, secretary general of the association known as PBSI, remarked the same ban from participating in all national and international tournaments until December 3 was also handed to their coach Paulus Firman. Rusdianto added that “the disqualification at the Olympics was already a heavy punishment for Polii and Jauhari.”

Rusdianto reiterated call of the country for future Olympics to return to a straight knockout tournament in order to prevent manipulation of the draw and the Badminton World Federation would be discussing future formats in November.

Indonesia’s head of badminton, Erick Thohir, said the team was not told to lose and added that the country’s team was there at the Olympics to win medals and not to lose them. Thohir added that there was no direction from the Indonesian Badminton Association to tell the players to lose.

The head of the world’s highest sports court, Matthieu Reeb, said the expelled badminton athletes could have taken their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Secretary General of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said the procedure is quick and free and would have been practical for them and would have provided a legal answer to this question before leaving London.

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