“Surreal”… Two French badistas lose their qualification after an error by the International Federation

While the two badists had finished number one in France in doubles at the end of the last tournament counting towards the Olympic race, a calculation error caused them to fall back into second position.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial



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The French Lucas Corvée (foreground) and Ronan Labar during their men's doubles match in the final of the Sudirman Cup, in Suzhou (China), the first competition counted for the Olympic ranking, on May 17, 2023. (STR / AFP)

Lucas Corvée and Ronan Labar, two French badminton players competing in doubles, calmly awaited the announcement of the qualifiers for the Paris Games. The pair, French number one at the end of the last tournament counting towards the Olympic race, had to take advantage of their ranking to go to the Olympics.

But, on Tuesday April 16, when consulting the update of the world rankings carried out by the International Badminton Federation (BWF), the world slipped from under their feet: the dream of competing in the Games was gone.

Two weeks before the official announcement of the classification of the Olympic “race”, the Corvée-Labar pair found themselves behind the other French association, Toma and Christo Popov. “To our greatest surprise, we found ourselves with a reduction in points leading to a loss of a few places in the ranking and a potential qualification strongly called into question,” Lucas Corvée and Ronan Labar reacted in a press release.

The international federation recognizes “changes in position”

After “forty-eight hours of manual checks” on all tournaments, including the Sudirman Cup in May 2023, the International Federation communicated, Friday April 19, about this catch-up of points. “The modification of the points results in changes of position for the Olympic Games, which concern in particular the two French men’s pairs.”

In its communication, the authority attributes its error to “a new rule effective since last year concerning the calculation of points during team tournaments based on the average points of the players and the bonus points during the matches won”.

The BWF would have awarded the Corvée-Labar pair 400 additional points, due to an error in the accounting system. “This is the most likely hypothesis,” confirms to franceinfo: sport the National Technical Director (DTN), Jérôme Careil.

Still according to French research, other players would be affected at the global level. “An Italian could also be wronged in singles, explains Jérôme Careil. In the men’s doubles, it appears that an Asian pair have lost their top seed status for the Games, which may change things in terms of Olympic medal probability.” For the DTN, the incomprehension is immense.

“They took away the 400 points without warning anyone, putting everyone in a completely improbable situation, because the two pairs had built their qualification strategy for a year on the basis of a number of points which was incorrect.”

Jérôme Careil, National Technical Director (DTN)

at franceinfo: sport

“All of the tournaments of the Olympic year were played with incorrect rankings, also support Lucas Corvée and Ronan Labar in their press release. The seeds, the lists of qualified players in each competition, the athletes’ strategy, were built on this error. Our stomachs have been in knots since last night. It’s a real earthquake, an explosion that we are experiencing. The dream of a life that appears and then disappears without explanation.”

If the situation is unprecedented, it is above all incomprehensible for this member of the staff of the France team. “The most surprising thing is that they [BWF] have not noticed this calculation error for a year. And especially the fact of updating their calculation base without warning anyone or apologizing, while this modification changes a lot of things.” confides Jérôme Careil.

Study of “possible remedies”

Lucas Corvée and Ronan Labar were waiting for the official press release from the BWF in order to have an explanation “this last minute modification before deciding what follow-up we will give to this surreal situation.”

The French Federation is studying possible appeals. “As a detriment has been caused to one of the two pairs who were supposed to be qualified and who no longer are, we will defend the idea that both can go, even if I think this is quite improbable, because this would cause a domino effect”, regrets Jérôme Careil, who also plans to consult the Cnosf (French national Olympic sports committee).

Lucas Corvée and Ronan Labar could also take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). But will they benefit from an accelerated procedure before the Games? “We don’t know. The situation is so unprecedented that we are in a phase of looking for an answer,” replies the DTN. One thing is certain, however, for the DTN: “We will push for the International Federation to take responsibility for its mistake and the consequences.”

In its press release, the world body “deeply regrets the classification error” and ensures that the updated positions “are now correct”.

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