Badminton has been known as a backyard sport for centuries. Started around the 5th century as a series of related games in Asia, Badminton has grown to become a worldwide game. Though we cannot compare its popularity to games such as Tennis, it’s a growing sport in the international scene. A publication in Slate. com dated August 01, 2012, shows how some players can bend rules to their own advantage; a direct insult to the ethics of the game. This article talks about the ethics of sportsmanship.
It illustrates how eight female Badminton players from South Korea, Indonesia, and China deliberately decided to lose on their first double matches in order to stand a chance of meeting a weak opponent on their second matches. 16 teams had entered the Olympic matches and as per the rules of the competition, half of these teams would qualify from the preliminaries to the knockout matches. At the knockout stage, it would be easier for a team to secure a spot in the medals game.
Seizing this opportunity, one Chinese team, two South Korean teams, and one Indonesian team decided to play the part of the underdog. China had two teams at the game and so did South Korea. Thus in order to stand a chance of gaining two Olympic medals from Badminton, neither country wanted both of their teams to meet at the knockout phase. This started when one of the Chinese teams comprising of Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing lost to Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl giving a green light for the two China’s teams to meet at the semifinals of the knockout matches.
This would deprive China the chance of acquiring two medals at the finals. To avoid this scenario, the Chinese decided to deliberately make the other team lose. The South Koreans saw this trick in time and decided that it’d be in their best interest to lose as well. In the following game between the South Koreans and the Chinese, both teams tried their best to lose. They hit the birdie from one side of the net to the other as high school students on a practice match. Fans booed and cursed to no avail. Finally, the Chinese got lucky and lost.
This prompted the South Koreans Badminton Ethics 3 to try their best to lose their next game against as their other team faced the Indonesian. The idea was to lose so that they could avoid playing against their countrymen in the quarter final matches. The Indonesians on the other had wanted to lose so that they won’t face the all-powerful Chinese team that had deliberately lost. All these tactics didn’t go well with the Badminton world federation. They accused them of presenting themselves in a way detrimental to this sport and expelled all these four teams from the Olympics matched.
The not so-loved teams were finally out of the limelight, at least for this competition. As any other sports, badminton has its set of rules that have to be followed. The essence of the Olympic championships is to portray ones talent in a sport, and not trickery. Professional sportsmen have an obligation to honor the rules of their sports as a way of portraying a good and encouraging culture that will live to move the sports into higher heights. Though winning is the ultimate goal of any competitor, winning with dignity is of utmost value.
It pays for an athlete to present himself/herself as an admirable example that others can emulate; that long after ones years of active completion, one’s legacy will live on to tell a story. As any other championship game that employs the use of knockouts in selecting teams to compete for the medals, more often than not teams always play to their own interests. However, this is not the culture of sportsmanship that we want to build. I remember playing Badminton several years ago in High school in a remote part of Africa.
I didn’t know what the rules of the game were, just drop the birdie on the opponent’s side of the field within the marked parameter and you have scored a point. Thus, for this game to grow and spread to the heights of soccer and the like, professional players have to present themselves in a way that will motivate the common people to develop an interest in the game. Cheating is not an option, if one cannot afford to lose with humility in a well-played game in which both parties put in their best effort, then, one is not a sportsman.