By David Gold

Kim Ha_Na_L_and_Jung_Kyung_Eun_22-08-12August 22 - The four South Koreans kicked out of the London 2012 badminton tournament have won appeals against their two-year suspension from the sport for alleged match-rigging.

Pairs Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung-Eun (pictured above, left and right), and Ha Jung-Eun and Kim Min Jung were kicked out of the Olympic women's doubles tournament by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), along with a Chinese and Indonesian pair for intentionally trying to lose a group stage match.

The players were believed to be trying to get an easier draw in the quarter-finals of the tournament and avoid the Chinese top seeds, Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, who eventually went on to win gold.

The badminton competition for the first time featured four groups of four, with the top two going through to the quarter-finals.

As a result of the scandal one of the Chinese players expelled, Yu Yang, quit the sport.

The two-year suspensions were put forward by the South Korean Badminton Association's disciplinary committee, with coach Sung Han-Kook and assistant Kim Moon-Soo given lifetime bans.

Referee Torsten_Berg_second_right_talks_to_coach_Sung_Han_Kook_right_after_Berg_issued_a_black_card_to_the_players_in_the_womens_doubles_match_between_South_Korea_and_IndonesiaReferee Torsten Berg (second right) talks to coach Sung Han Kook (right) after Berg issued a black card to the players in the women's doubles match between South Korea and Indonesia

Although Sung accepted his punishment, he pleaded for leniency, and along with Kim the pair had their suspensions reduced to two years each.

However, the two doubles pairs will now only serve six months out of the sport following their appeals, the South Korean Badminton Association confirmed.

They had been under pressure to act from the South Korean Olympic Committee, the Korea Times reported.

This summer represented what was South Korea's worst ever Olympic performance in badminton, with just one bronze medal won.

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