Indonesia imposes 4-month ban against badminton pair and coach over scandal at Olympics

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia's leading women's badminton pair was banned for four months by the national association on Wednesday for their involvement in the play-to-lose scandal at the London Olympics.

Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were disqualified from the games along with the Chinese world champions and two South Korean teams for trying to deliberately lose group matches in order to gain an easier path through the knockout stages.

Yacob Rusdianto, secretary general of the association known as PBSI, said the same ban from participating in all national and international tournaments until Dec. 3 was also handed to their coach Paulus Firman.

"We all do not want such thing to have happened, but we have to accept it," Rusdianto told the Associated Press. "The sanctions must be imposed because they have violated the provisions of fair play."

He noted that "the disqualification at the Olympics was already a heavy punishment for Polii and Jauhari."

The ban will bar Polii and Meiliana, world-ranked 14th, from competing in the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold 2012 this month in Palembang as well as Japan Open and China Open.

Polii also will miss this month's National Sports Games where she was to have represented Jakarta province.

Both were not available for comment, but on the PBSI website Meiliana said they accepted the punishment.

"We accept this decision and hope that such incident would not happen again in the future. We only will focus on training to improve our performance when we are allowed to play later," Meiliana said.

Rusdianto reiterated Indonesia's call for future Olympics to return to a straight knockout tournament to prevent manipulation of the draw. The Badminton World Federation will discuss future formats in November.

The South Korean teams had their lifetime bans from their own badminton officials reduced on appeal to six months, while Yu Yang, half of China's duo and a 2008 Olympic gold medallist, decided to retire.