JAKARTA (Reuters) - Badminton chiefs will consider a new format for the Thomas and Uber Cups after South Korea shamelessly threw two group matches in order to secure an easier passage later in the men’s tournament.
The Koreans fielded weakened teams for their Thomas Cup group matches, pitching singles players into doubles games and playing doubles specialists in singles. On Monday they first lost 4-1 to England then to Malaysia by the same margin.
The tactical ploy left them bottom of Group B and, under the structure of the international team event, they now face an easy playoff against Canada on Tuesday to clinch a quarter-final place against Denmark.
South Korean team manager Kim Jong-soo freely acknowledged the ploy, telling the Chinese Xinhua news agency: “Since the beginning our strategy has always been to face Denmark in the quarter-finals, Indonesia in the semis and China in the final.
“We prefer to face Denmark in the quarters-finals because we are confident we can beat them.”
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) responded by saying it would look at the possibility of introducing a new format to prevent teams throwing matches.
“I don’t blame South Korea for fielding a weaker team for their group matches. Any strong team will do it if they have a chance,” BWF deputy president Datuk Punch Gunalan said.
“We introduced the current format... to give a chance for smaller nations to play in the event. However, with the latest development, we now need to sit and talk about changing the format,” he told Malaysia’s New Straits Times Web site www.nst.com.my.
“They had not broken any rule. To BWF, they have applied the right strategy by taking an easier route. We could look into a few options in the future... we will look into this.”
Writing by Ossian Shine in Singapore, Editing by Greg Stutchbury
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