KOC says will implement CAS decision on Park quickly

  • Swimming
  • Monday, 04 Jul 2016

South Korea's Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan reacts as he answers reporters' questions during a news conference at a hotel in Seoul March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) will not drag its feet if the Court of Arbitration for Sport sides with swimmer Park Tae-hwan in his bid to repeal a controversial doping ban, KOC Secretary-General Cho Young-ho said on Monday.

Park, the first Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal when he won the 400 freestyle gold in Beijing, completed an 18-month ban imposed by world governing body FINA in March after testing positive for testosterone ahead of the 2014 Asian Games.

However, under KOC regulations, he was then subject to an additional three-year ban from the national team the day the FINA suspension expired, effectively ruling him out of the Rio Olympics.

Park took his case to the CAS and is expected to be notified of the result this week, with the Korean team set to decide on the swimming team on July 18.

The 26-year-old's chances of forcing the KOC to repeal the ban were emboldened on Friday when a local court ruled that he was eligible for selection for the national team.

Park had lodged an injunction with Seoul Eastern District Court last month against the KOC and Korea Swimming Federation over the ban.

Cho said they would move quickly to resolve the issue when CAS hands down its decision.

"If the CAS decision is in line with that of the domestic court, we will promptly take the necessary steps regarding Park," Yonhap news agency quoted Cho as saying.

"If the Korea Swimming Federation recommends Park as a national team swimmer the KOC will either hold a board of directors' meeting or approve it in writing if it is urgent... the KOC has no intention to delay the process."

Cho added that if the CAS decision went against Park then the KOC would need to discuss the next steps, Yonhap reported.

Despite the KOC ban, Park entered national swimming trials in April and won all four of his races in times quick enough for Olympic qualification.

At the 2008 Beijing Games, Park also picked up a silver in the 200, and was runner-up in both races in London in 2012.

He attributed the failed test to an injection he received at a local clinic where he said he was being treated for a skin complaint.

CAS has previously struck out double-barrelled punishments for athletes banned for doping-related offences.

In 2011, the Swiss-based tribunal ruled that the International Olympic Committee's 'Osaka Rule', which banned athletes serving suspensions of at least six months from competing at the next Games, violated its own statutes.

(Reporting by Lee Jeong Eun, Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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