Olympics-South Korean panel finds no evidence of wrongdoing by short track champion Shim

FILE PHOTO: Gold medallist Shim Suk-Hee (R) of South Korea and her compatriot, bronze medallist Kim Alang pose during the awards ceremony after the women's 1500m final during the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating competition in Shanghai, China, December 13, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song

SEOUL (Reuters) - The Korea Skating Union could not find any evidence of wrongdoing by double Olympic short track gold medallist Shim Suk-hee and said a further sports commission hearing will decide whether she can compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Concluding a month-long probe into race-fixing allegations against South Korean speed skater Shim, a panel of investigators said there is no concrete evidence to prove that she intended to take down a team mate during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games.

A separate sports commission within the KSU will later decide whether she should be slapped with a suspension that may rule her out of the Beijing Olympics to be held in February, according to a spokesperson at the KSU.

"There is not enough evidence to admit that it was 'acting for Bradbury', as the possibility that skater A did it for self-protection cannot be ruled out," the panel said in a statement.

Text messages exchanged between Shim and a coach during the 2018 Games revealed that she might have tried to create a "female Steven Bradbury" if things were not going her way.

Australian Bradbury won gold in the men's 1,000m at the 2002 Winter Olympics after all the other competitors crashed at the last turn.

The Winter Olympics run from Feb. 4-20.

(Reporting by Dae-woung Kim and Cynthia Kim; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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