Disgraced South Koreans have bans reduced

SEOUL Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:42am EDT

South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na play against China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang during their women's doubles group play stage Group A badminton match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Wembley Arena July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

South Korea's Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na play against China's Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang during their women's doubles group play stage Group A badminton match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Wembley Arena July 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Olympic badminton coach Sung Han-kook has had a lifetime suspension cut to two years, while four players sent home from the London Games for throwing matches also had their bans reduced.

The four women's doubles players booted out of the Games for their part in the scandal had two-year bans cut to six months after an appeal to Korean badminton's ruling body.

Jung Kyung-eun, Kim Ha-na, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung remain ineligible for national and international competition for six months. They will also not be allowed to represent South Korea for a year, according to Yonhap news agency.

Assistant coach Kim Moon-soo also had a lifetime ban cut to two years on Wednesday.

The four players, along with four women's doubles players from China and Indonesia, were kicked out of the London Olympics earlier this month for deliberately trying to lose matches.

Amid farcical scenes, the players served into the net and missed easy shots in an attempt to lose their matches and gain favorable draws in the knockout stages.

Sung, who blamed the Chinese pair for starting the affair, had accepted his penalty and asked for leniency for the players while his assistant Kim had appealed, Korea's badminton association said.

(Reporting by Daum Kim; Editing by Alastair Himmer/Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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