March 24, 2015 11:05
Korean swimming star Park Tae-hwan has been banned from the sport for 18 months for a doping violation. The ban was pronounced after Park appeared before FINA, the international swimming governing body in Lausanne, Switzerland the same day.
With the suspension, which is backdated to September 2014 and is effective until March 2016, Park forfeits all the medals he won during the Incheon Asian Games in September last year but he still has a small chance of competing in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August next year.
The rules of the Korean Olympic Committee stipulate that an athlete is prohibited from joining a national team for three years after any suspension is over.
Park, accompanied by a Swiss lawyer and officials from the Korea Swimming Federation, protested his innocence. Robert Fox, the chairman of FINA's Doping Panel presided over the hearing along with two other officials.
Park apparently claimed that he unintentionally received injections of Nebido, widely known as injectable testosterone, as part of a health regimen recommended by a doctor. He pleaded with FINA to consider the role he has played in promoting swimming among young Korean athletes.
He has 21 days to appeal the decision with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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