ROK reduces punishment for badminton players

Updated: 2012-08-23 15:25


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ROK reduces punishment for badminton players 

Combination photo made Aug 1, 2012 shows the women's doubles pair of (clockwise from top left) China's Wang Xiaoli (L) and Yang Yu, South Korea's Jung Kyung Eun (Top) and Kim Ha Na, Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari and South Korea's Ha Jung-eun (L) and Kim Min-jung during their matches during the London 2012 Olympics. [Photo/Agencies]

South Korea's badminton federation reduced the sentence for members involved in the much-criticized badminton round-robin scandal in the just-concluded London Olympics, after the players appealed the earlier penalties.

Women's doubles players Jung Kyung-eun, Kim Ha-na, Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung got a one-year suspension as national players and were banned from domestic and international matches for six months, while the country's head coach Sung Han-kook and women's doubles coach Kim Moon-Soo were dismissed as national coaches and stripped of coaching for four years, a board meeting of the federation ruled on Wednesday.

The four Korean players, along with their rivals, Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli from China and Indonesia's Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari, were disqualified from the Games by the sport's world federation, after they were charged of deliberately losing the round-robin game on Aug 1 in order to secure preferable positions in the knockout stage.

In the Olympics, the top team of one group plays the runner-up of the other group in knockout rounds.

The Korean federation went tough with an earlier penalty expelling the four players from national teams and banning them from domestic and international games for two years, while stripping Sun and Kim of coaching for life, stirring worries that the incident would cripple the badminton powerhouse.

The Korean public thought the penalty was too tough and blamed the round-robin format for almost ending the careers of the players and coaches. Reports said the country's badminton federation was bombarded with phone calls complaining about the penalty after it was announced.

The four players and coach Kim appealed, while Sung accepted. The federation board meeting ruled on the final sentence after considering the players' appeal saying "they played the game under the direction of the coaches."

The other two countries, China and Indonesia, have not taken any action against those involved in the scandal.

South Korea badminton finished with just one men's doubles bronze in London, while China swept the gold in all five categories.