Seoul: South Korean newspapers and netizens were generally scathing on Thursday about their country’s involvement in the Olympic badminton scandal, with one paper terming the affair a national embarrassment.
Four pairs in the women’s doubles competition — one from China, one from Indonesia and two from South Korea — were disqualified for trying to lose matches in the round-robin phase in order to manipulate the knockout draw.
The players involved were accused of conduct “clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport”.
Major newspaper JoongAng Ilbo carried a half-page story on the affair. “Korean women’s badminton players have disgraced the Olympic spirit and embarrassed the country,” it said.
Hankook Ilbo described the scandal as a “ridiculous performance” and said Korean coaches were busy making excuses for an “insult to sport”.
Dong-A Ilbo newspaper pointed the finger at the Chinese players, whom it said first began fixing the games.
A majority of netizens were furious at the affair and critical of the South Korean players.
“Don’t even think about blaming Chinese players. It was even more wrong to criticise them and do the same thing. What is wrong, is wrong,” said a user Linkinpark on major portal Daum.net.
A user identified as Silver said the women deserved to be disqualified. “They should be embarrassed. Shame on them.”
“Daeryukuikkum” said not only the players who had imitated their Chinese counterparts, but also Korean coaches and federation officials, should apologise.
“It’s a dirty act that goes against sports and the Olympics. They don’t deserve to play sports. Everyone including the coaches should get a 10-year ban,” said Shin Hyun-Dong.
Some users still blamed the Chinese and saw the Koreans as victims of match-fixing. “Why Korea and Indonesia? It’s all because of Chinese!” said Whoohaha.