Swimmer Park Tae-hwan’s doctor fined $850 for injecting banned substance

December 17, 2015

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The doctor of suspended swimmer Park Tae-hwan was fined on Thursday for injecting a banned substance that eventually caused the Olympic gold medalist to fail a doping test.

The Seoul Central District Court ordered the doctor, a 46-year-old surnamed Kim, to pay a fine of 1 million won (US$850) for failing to leave records of injecting Park with Nebido, which contains testosterone, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The court said the doctor had failed to properly explain that the injection could lead to a positive doping test for the former Olympic champion.

Park, who grabbed the gold in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, failed a drug test last fall and is serving an 18-month suspension that ends in March next year.

The 26-year-old, who has also won two world championships in the 400m free, was barred from training at facilities operated by the government or by the national swimming federation, and recently returned home from a training camp in Japan.

Park’s suspension will end on March 2, 2016, and during the final two months of the suspension, he’ll be allowed to train at national facilities.

It remains unclear, however, if he will be able to compete at next year’s Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Under a rule instituted by the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) in July last year, athletes who’ve served a drug suspension are ineligible for national teams in any sport for three years, starting on the day the suspension ends.

Some people in the legal community have been pressuring the KOC to change the rule, claiming it unfairly punishes athletes twice. Yet the KOC has postponed any related discussion on potential amendments to March, after it completes administrative steps to unify and integrate national sports federations.

The Olympic team trials are set for February and April. Swimmers may participate in any of the two events and will qualify for a spot on the national team if they beat the qualifying time standards.