The Korean women’s doubles players who were disqualified from the Olympic Games last summer and subsequently suspended from the Korean National Badminton Team have had their sentences commuted, clearing the way for them to return to the national team and to compete internationally. Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that the decision was handed down at the January 24th meeting of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC).
The Badminton Korea Association (BKA) had originally imposed very strong punishment on Kim Min Jung, Ha Jung Eun, Kim Ha Na, and Jung Kyung Eun, as well as their coaches, after the four players were disqualified by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for intentionally trying to lose their last round-robin matches at the London Olympics. The Koreans appealed to the BKA once and had the sentences reduced to a one-year suspension from the national team and a 6-month ban on competing nationally or internationally but were later allowed by the KOC to compete domestically, while their eligibility to play for the national team was still withheld. Kim Ha Na and Jung Kyung Eun have actually been training with the national team since December, when the BKA petitioned the KOC to lift the suspension, and the two competed in the Korea Open Superseries Premier earlier this month, nominally representing their respective corporate teams.
Ha Jung Eun has not competed even domestically since the Olympics and Kim Min Jung, too, has hinted that she will not be returning to international competition. Originally, it was Yu Yang who had claimed to be retiring, making that announcement while the Olympics were still on; however, the Chinese were the first of the four disqualified pairs to return to international competition and no additional punishment from Chinese authorities has been made public. The two Indonesians were initially given a suspension by their national association but it was lifted soon afterward and the players returned to international competition in November.