Sports / Swimming

No Rio revival for Park

By Agence France-Presse in Seoul (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-17 07:58

S. Korea upholds ban on disgraced swimming star

No Rio revival for Park

Silver medallist Park Tae-hwan (L) of South Korea gestures on the podium at an award ceremony at the Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Sept 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

South Korea's national Olympic committee on Thursday upheld its ban on disgraced swimmer Park Tae-hwan competing at the Rio Olympics, rejecting his emotional plea for reinstatement.

Park, a multiple Olympic medalist, completed an 18-month drug suspension in April after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in out-of-competition controls before the 2014 Asian Games.

But he remains barred from competing in Rio de Janeiro under a ruling by the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) that prohibits athletes from representing the country for three years after the expiration of any doping ban.

"We've decided not to amend the protocol," KOC board member Han Jong-hee told reporters.

"The spirit of this protocol is to make sure that national athletes be armed with high morality.

"Doping runs against the spirit of fair play and it must be sternly dealt with, especially for the sake of educating young athletes."

The KOC said it would inform the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) of its decision and would respond to any subsequent mediation efforts.

Park has argued the KOC regulation is unfair and he filed an appeal with the CAS in April but instructed the Switzerland-based tribunal not to proceed until he had a definitive answer from the KOC on the ruling.

The KOC said after "deep discussion" among its board directors the rule would remain in force, leaving Park's last hopes of competing at Rio resting in the hands of CAS.

"The regulation for the selection of national team representatives was made with the aim of demanding a high level of morality of our national team athletes and considering the dignity required of a public figure," the KOC said in a statement carried by all South Korean television networks on Thursday.

"Doping is against the fair play spirit, a basic requirement of athletes, and we decided that a rigorous response was needed for educational purposes to young athletes."

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