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Aug 2, 2012 9:55 AM

Tucson badminton players react to Olympic controversy

TUCSON- The members of Tucson's Badminton Club may not be Olympians, but they know that what happened at this week's women's doubles tournament in London is not worthy of any kind of medal.

"I've seen lots of players in round-robin tournaments and I've never seen anybody do that," says Tucson Badminton Club President Richard Alexander.

The Badminton World Federation disqualified eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia, saying they purposely tried to lose their matches to get a better slot in the next round of competition.

"You can see the player literally watching the bird fly and drop in the court," Alexander says. "You never do that!"

It's a brewing badminton controversy that some Tucson players say is a slap in the face to the Olympic spirit.

"At the Olympic level you should definitely play at the best of your abilities," Badminton Player Daniel Barajas says.

"I'm absolutely thrilled they're disqualified," Alexander says. "Hopefully it will send a message and nobody will ever do it again."

The International Olympic Committee is also applauding the Federation's decision.

"This is unsporting behavior, people want to see proper competition, and we think they've taken the right decision," IOC Spokesman Mark Adams says.

Meanwhile, Tucson badminton players are disappointed. But they hope all the recent attention on their sport will only peak the public's interest in it. "It's fabulous exercise, it's a lot of fun, it's not an expensive sport to get into and there are multiple facilities around the city where we can play," Alexander says. "It's a great sport."

Both South Korea and Indonesia appealed the disqualification, but the Badminton Federation rejected the South Korean appeal and the Indonesia challenge was withdrawn.

The Chinese Olympic Badminton Team has apologized for their disqualification. The team's coach and the two players involved in the match appeared on Chinese State TV and apologized to their fans.

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