Regarding the latest with South Korean swimmer Park Tae Hwan’s doping suspension, as we reported, there is a subjective domestic rule which would, in theory, tack on an additional 3-year suspension for any national athlete to being at the end of the FINA-mandated disciplinary period.
Fox Sports says that Korean Olympic Committe official, Park Dong-hee is now stating that “we [KOC] will never bend our rules for the interest of an individual athlete, but it is true that the suspension of Park Tae Hwan triggered a debate on whether the rule is legally appropriate.” He additionally stated that “The KOC’s competition and disciplinary committees will discuss the rule before the organization’s board of directors makes a decision on it, a process that normally takes about three months.”
This debate rings similarly to the one over the IOC’s “Rule 45” that proposed additional suspensions beyond those agreed to by the signatories of the World Anti-Doping Code. That rule proposed an Olympic ban for athletes serving a suspension of longer than 6 months, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport eventually struck that rule down, citing that it was a violation of the agreement signed by all parties that recognize the Code.
Another impact of FINA’s suspension may result in the city of Incheon removing Park’s name from its aquatic facility if public opinion of the athlete continues to unravel. According to The Korea Times, soon after the FINA ruling was announced, “some people complained to the city government, asking that it remove Park’s name from the “Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center”. The Incheon Metropolitan City officials are indicating that the name’s removal would be a difficult decision, that they “don’t have a plan to change the name yet, but we will see how the public opinion goes.”
The public will have the opportunity to hear from the swimming champion himself, as Park Tae-hwan will be holding a press conference in the southern Seoul district of Songpa at 3pm local time on Friday, March 27th.