Seoul, Jan 30 (IANS) A team of South Korean sports officials met Friday to discuss preparations for an upcoming doping hearing for Park Tae-hwan, a beleaguered swimmer who recently tested positive for testosterone.
Representatives from the Korean Olympic Committee, the Korea Swimming Federation and from Park’s camp met behind closed doors here Friday, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
FINA, the international governing body of swimming, has set a hearing for Park Feb 27 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Park has already hired a Switzerland-based legal representative with expertise in doping cases.
Park, a four-time Olympic medallist and two-time world champion, submitted two urine samples to FINA Sep 3, as he was training for the Asian Games in the South Korean city of Incheon that opened later the same month. Both of his A and B samples tested positive.
Park, however, passed three doping tests during the Asian Games, the competition’s organising committee said in a statement earlier this week.
Park is blaming an injection given by a doctor at a Seoul hospital for the positive results. State prosecutors investigating charges of the doctor’s professional negligence said the injection contained testosterone, a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
According to prosecutors, officials from the hospital have claimed that they gave Park the injection to help boost his hormone levels but that they weren’t aware that testosterone was a banned substance.
The swimmer has countered that he repeatedly asked the hospital about the contents of the injection and that he was assured that the shot would be clean.
Should Park be suspended for his doping, the suspension would begin retroactively Sep 3, the day FINA collected Park’s samples.
Separate from any legal responsibility to be shouldered by the hospital, Park, one of South Korea’s most visible athletes, will likely be held accountable for the result, based on WADA’s World Anti-Doping Code.