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Badminton heads open to Olympic format changes after match-throwing scandal

08/05/2012 09:44 EDT | Updated 10/05/2012 05:12 EDT
LONDON - Badminton's Olympic format will be reviewed to avoid a repeat of the match-throwing scandal that blighted the London Games, but the world governing body said on Sunday no changes were guaranteed.

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

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

Lund said they regarded the group system preceding knockout stages, as opposed to straight elimination play, as "a big success."

"It has brought action to many, many more viewers and prolonged the Olympic experience for many, many more players," he said.

"Generally, we've had much better exposure than we've ever had as a sport due to the group system. So group play has been a big success. But there are things that can be improved to avoid similar incidents in future."

Lund said they have received no pressure from the International Olympic Committee to do more than what they've done, and 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. "The real problem occurs if you don't deal with this, and I think the executive board and the badminton community believe we have dealt with this swiftly and effectively.

"I don't think this will have any influence whatsoever on Olympic status."

The IOC have called on China, South Korea and Indonesia officials to investigate what role coaches had in the affair.

The coaches of all four pairs have apologized, Indonesia has asked for the format to be reviewed, and Lund called their reaction a positive in the scandal.

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

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

He said it was "badminton at its best," and great theatre 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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