by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
Suspended South Korean Olympic swimmer Park Tae-hwan may still have a chance at qualifying for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil if eligibility rules change, according to the Associated Press.
The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) said Thursday that it is considering whether its rule that bans athletes suspended for doping from competing with the national team is unfair or excessive. Under current rules, which were instated last year, the ban adds an additional three years from the end of the athlete’s initial suspension from the international governing organization.
Park, who won the 400-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and six medals in the 2014 Asian Games, tested positive for testosterone in early September in an out-of-competition drug test. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) handed Park an 18-month ban, which began retroactively the day of the positive test. The results of the test became public in January.
The KOC’s suspension adds three years to the end of the FINA ban, which would prevent him from competing in Rio in 2016. According to KOC official Park Dong-hee, the organization will review the three-year ban rule before the board of directors makes a decision on it. The process usually takes about three months.
Park has since apologized for the positive test, saying that he was given the injection without knowing that it contained testosterone. The hospital, which Park frequented for free chiropractic and other treatments, also said it did not know that testosterone was a prohibited substance.
FINA stripped Park of his six medals at the Asian Games in Incheon, and one of the city’s officials is also considering renaming the Park Tae-hwan Swimming Pool.
Korean Swimming Federation president Lee Kee-heung has demanded Park to personally apologize to the public in a press conference. As for Rio in 2016, Lee said Park sees the games as an opportunity for redemption.
Featured image via Koogle.tv