The International Olympic Committee is pressing the national Olympic committees of China, South Korea, and Indonesia to investigate whether women's badminton players were intentionally losing matches to get a better draw in the knockout round.

On Wednesday, four South Koreans, as well as two Chinese and Indonesian players, were disqualified from competition for their poor play by the Badminton World Federation, for "not using one's best efforts to win a match." 

"We have asked to look into it to see if there are any issues to answer similarly for the coaches," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said on Thursday.

"It's important to make sure it's not just the athletes that are punished. The NOCs are making sure those athletes are now leaving the Village and making their way home," he added.

The tanking was very obvious, according to sports experts. Many fans booed and hissed during the matches at Wembley Arena, as serves hit the net, and returns went far wide. Things looked so bad that the Danish judge warned players that they could be thrown out.

Badminton is a national obsession in China. Top-ranked player Lin Dan is regarded as a national hero, and is a commercial success with numerous endorsement contracts.

"This is definitely not within the Olympic spirit," said Lin before the disqualification, according to The Associated Press.

China head coach Li Yongbo apologized in public for the failure of the players to give their best effort.

China stars Yu Yang and her teammate, Wang Xiaoli, were the two Chinese players who were disqualified, and some defend the pair for using a smart strategy for conserving energy. Some badminton fans blame the rules which seemed to give athletes the incentive to lose.

Defenders of the disqualified players are also blaming the round-robin system for putting teams in matches that didn't count.