8 Olympic athletes banned for trying to lose

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8 Olympic athletes banned for trying to lose

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- Eight female badminton doubles players were disqualified Wednesday from the London Olympics after trying to lose matches to receive a more favorable place in the tournament. The Badminton World Federation announced its ruling after investigating two teams from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia. It punished them for "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" in matches Tuesday night. "We applaud the federation for having taken swift and decisive action," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press. "Such behavior is incompatible with the Olympic values." Erick Thohir, the head of Indonesia's Olympic team, told the AP that the Indonesian team will appeal. The BWF said South Korea had also appealed. The competition was to continue later Wednesday. It was unclear if four eliminated teams would be placed into the quarterfinals or if the competition would restart at the semifinal stage. Thohir accused Chinese players of losing on purpose in the past. "China has been doing this so many times and they never get sanctioned by the BWF," Thohir said. "On the first game yesterday when China did it, the BWF didn't do anything. If the BWF do something on the first game and they say you are disqualified, it is a warning for everyone." IOC Vice President Craig Reedie, the former head of the international badminton federation, welcomed the decision. "Sport is competitive," Reedie told the AP. "If you lose the competitive element, then the whole thing becomes a nonsense. "You cannot allow a player to abuse the tournament like that, and not take firm action. So good on them." The eight disqualified players are world doubles champions Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and their South Korean opponents Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na, along with South Korea's Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung and Indonesia's Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii. The players went before a disciplinary hearing Wednesday, a day after spectators at the arena booed their performance after it became clear they were deliberately trying to lose. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge had been at the venue but had left shortly before the drama unfolded. The IOC said it would allow badminton's ruling body to handle the matter. Paul Deighton, chief executive officer of the London organizers, said there would be no refunds for the evening's badminton program. Chairman Sebastian Coe called what happened "depressing," adding "who wants to sit through something like that?" Teams blamed the introduction of a round-robin stage rather than a straight knockout tournament as the main cause of the problem. In the round-robin format, losing one game can lead to an easier matchup in the next round. The Chinese players were accused of leading the way by deliberately losing a game. This led to other teams behaving in a similar way to try to force an easier quarterfinal. At one stage, both teams appeared to be trying to lose. Wang and Yu and their opponents were booed loudly by the crowd after dumping serves into the net and making simple errors, such as hitting the shuttlecock wide. The longest rally in their first game was only four strokes. The umpire warned them, and tournament referee Torsten Berg spoke to all four players but it had little effect. At one stage, Berg showed a black card, which usually means disqualification, but the game continued. Eventually, the Chinese women lost 21-14, 21-11 and both pairs were jeered off the court. One of the world's top male players, 2004 Olympic singles champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, called the situation a "circus match." The teams had already qualified for knockout round, but the result ensured that the top-seeded Wang and Yu would have avoided playing their No. 2-seeded Chinese teammates until the final. The problem was repeated in the next women's doubles between South Korea's Ha and Kim Min-jung and their Indonesian opponents. Both teams were also warned for deliberately losing points in a match the South Koreans won 18-21, 21-14, 21-12. China's Lin Dan, the No. 2-ranked men's singles player, said through an interpreter the sport is going to be damaged. "Especially for the audience," he said before the disqualifications were announced. "This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit. But like I said before, it's not one-sided. Whoever sets the rule should make it knockout so whoever doesn't try will just leave the Olympics." Beijing badminton silver medalist Gail Emms said the matches were embarrassing to watch. "It was absolutely shocking," she said. "The crowds were booing and chanting 'Off, off, off.'"

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Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA – The only crying to be done Monday by the Wizards is when they look back at how they played in a disastrous second quarter, with a chance to blow out the Atlanta Hawks only to bottom out in Game 4.

Markieff Morris, who called Paul Millsap a “crybaby” after an 18-point loss in Game 3, was a no-show because of foul trouble and Atlanta rallied despite its starting point guard being saddled with three fouls in the first quarter to tie the series at 2-2 with a 111-101 victory at Phillips Arena.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Verizon Center.

The table had been set for the Wizards as they led by nine in the first quarter only to trail by that exact margin at halftime 59-50.

John Wall (22 points, 10 assists) got out to a fast start with eight points and five assists in the first quarter but sputtered. Bradley Beal (32 points) led all scorers. Otto Porter (13 points), who left Game 3 with a stinger in his neck and left shoulder, shot 5-for-10. Bojan Bogdanovic (13 points) had his best game of the series as he made multiple threes for the first time and went 5-for-9 from the field.

Still, the Hawks did much more. They had seven players score in double figures with Dwight Howard (16 points, 15 rebounds), Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists), Millsap (19 points, nine rebounds), Schroder (18 points), Taurean Prince (11 points, seven rebounds) and Jose Calderon (10 points, five assists) coming up with big shots at every turn.

The score was tied at 77 after the third quarter but the Hawks got stops, got out in transition and knocked down open shots that Washington had the habit of missing.

[RELATED: PHOTO: Hawks fans brought Morris 'crybaby' signs to Game 4]

--The Wizards shot 5-for-20, had eight turnovers in the second quarter (four by Wall) and were outrebounded 15-9. They were outscored 31-15 which turned the tide for good.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 6:44 in the first quarter and drew his third at 3:10 when trying to stop Prince on a drive. Prince shuffled his feet and the play should’ve been negated by a whistle but instead he got the and-1. Beal picked up his fourth in the last 49 seconds of the third when Schroder drove the lane. Ideally, that was Brandon Jennings’ assignment but he’s shown an inability to stay in front of the ball all series. Kelly Oubre had three fouls in his first six minutes.  

--Schroder picked up his third foul at 2:29 of the first quarter as Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer made a bad gamble. Schroder missed all three of his shots in 10 minutes played. The Wizards led 27-18 when he exited for Calderon, who ended up having to defend Beal.  Schroder didn’t play in the second quarter and when they went to the locker room the Hawks led 59-50 at halftime. Beal only got off three shots in the second quarter and made two of them. Wall shot 1-for-6.

--Oubre’s decision-making off a steal was typical of the Wizards’ play in the second quarter. Wall could be heard calling for the ball as he trailed and Atlanta had numbers back. Oubre continued his straight line to the basket where Hardaway awaited to take a charge. Wall misfired on a lob to Morris at the rim and then Beal misfired with a lob to Wall. What had been a nine-point lead was now a 41-38 deficit when Calderon buried a three.

--The Hawks weren’t finding shooters in transition or even when the pace was slowed. Beal’s second missed three came on a throwahead from Wall on a dead ball. Beal was all alone but backrimmed the shot. Bogdanovic had a spot up from a similar spot midway through the second quarter and didn’t get a runner to contest. He also backrimmed it.

--Howard had been a non-factor but had his first double-double of the series by halftime. Bazemore found him twice on lobs at the rim as there was confusion on the coverage as Gortat went to stop the ball. No one was back to contest or stop Howard’s roll to the rim.

--Jennings (five points) had a small burst when he took advantage of Mike Muscala switching onto him on the perimeter and drained a pair of stepback jumpers but that’s where his impact ended. Muscala’s time was limited to seven minutes while Ersan Ilyasova (six points) logged 22 minutes.

--Bogdanovic shot 1-for-10 from three for the first three games of the series before he found his touch late.

[RELATED: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?]

 

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Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes receives suspension for buzzing Orioles' Manny Machado

Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes receives suspension for buzzing Orioles' Manny Machado

NEW YORK (AP) – Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes has been suspended four games and fined for throwing a fastball past the head of Baltimore star Manny Machado.

The commissioner's office issued the penalty Monday. The Red Sox are off and Barnes is appealing, meaning the reliever can continue to pitch until the process is done.

Barnes was ejected Sunday after sailing a fastball past Machado's helmet at Baltimore. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in nine games this season.

On Friday night at Camden Yards, Machado made a late slide that injured Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

On Sunday, Machado batted in the sixth inning and dodged out of the way when Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez threw three pitches down and in around the knees. Machado came up again in the eighth and Barnes' fastball whizzed behind his helmet.

The Orioles and Red Sox play again next Monday at Fenway Park.

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