Park Tae-hwan Submits Tapes in Doping Scandal

      February 05, 2015 11:24

      Park Tae-hwan

      Star swimmer Park Tae-hwan submitted to prosecutors a tape recording of conversations he had with the head of the clinic that injected him with testosterone, a banned substance for athletes.

      Some media reports say Park is heard to chide the doctor for allegedly failing to inform him that the injections he received contained the banned substance.

      The physician said Wednesday he did not know Park had recorded their conversations and that the swimmer "never raised his voice" at him.

      "We inform all of our patients who receive our anti-aging program that they are given male hormone therapy and we told Park Tae-hwan as well," he added.

      "In late October or early November of last year, Park Tae-hwan's sister came to our hospital and asked us about the injections," he said. "At first she said Park had failed a doping test, then said he didn't, and then that he seems to have been caught 'a little bit.'"

      The doctor said Park's sister, who is head of marketing at Park's agency, Team GMP, said she was speaking to doctors to learn what treatments he had received.

      Park received at least one injection of a drug called Nebido at the hospital in July last year. Nebido is more widely known as injectable testosterone to treat erectile dysfunction, though testosterone also strengthens muscles.

      Park was given a doping test by the World Anti-Doping Agency on Sept. 3 last year and told later that month that he had failed it.

      In late November, Park and his sister then visited the clinic together.

      On that occasion, the doctor said, Park's sister asked several times whether it was OK to be injected with testosterone and whether athletes could use it. He also quoted her as saying that the swimmer was so impressed with the clinic that she was also considering the treatment.

      If the doctor is telling the truth, Park knew he was being injected with testosterone from the onset and tacitly authorized it, but later staged these conversations where he sounded baffled by the test results.

      Park has sued the doctor for bodily harm and claimed that he checked several times that he was not being injected with any banned substances.

      The swimmer claims he taped their conversations in the presence of a lawyer last year.

      Asked whether these repeated queries by Park and his sister about any banned substances had sounded strange to him, the doctor said he was "in the business of helping people" and did not get suspicious.

      Park visited the hospital, which takes in only patients with an annual membership of W33 million (US$1=W1,086), more than 20 times and received more expensive treatments than other patients normally get.

      The doctor told prosecutors he injected Park with testosterone twice in December 2013 and July 2014 and told him what it was.

      While declining to comment on what other types of treatment the athlete received, he said Park asked him to speak to prosecutors only about the testosterone.

      "I thought his agency would routinely screen Park, since he is a well-known athlete and has his own physician," the doctor said. "It's frustrating that his agency has sued me and I'm being treated like his personal doctor."

      Park's agency told the Chosun Ilbo it would comment after the swimmer appears in front of FINA, the international swimming governing body, on Feb. 27.

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