South Korean champion, Park Tae-Hwan, is still in the midst of serving his 18-month FINA-imposed suspension after having tested positive for testosterone in late 2014.
We reported back in May of this year that Park was in search of a new training camp, as his suspension bans the athlete from returning to Korea’s National Training Center. The ban also excluded Park from participating in a training camp, exhibition or practice organized by his Member Federation or a club which is a member of that Member Federation or FINA or which is funded by a governmental agency.
As such, Park had to cast his training facility net rather wide in order to find a pool that wouldn’t violate the suspension policy. Korean news agency Yonhap is reporting that Park has now relocated to Tokyo, Japan, taking his manager and physical trainer along with him. Park will begin training at Hosei University this week, according to the report, with plans to stay in the Japanese capital until December. As a grad student of Hosei’s sister school Dankook University, Park will enter an exchange program and live off campus.
Park still hasn’t stated any direct desire to compete at the Olympic Games. In his first press appearance since the doping ban, Park said, “It’s not time to talk about future here as I made a mistake that I myself couldn’t accept,” when asked about the possibility of competing at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Desiring to compete or not, Park still has to contend with the Korean Olympic Committee rule that states any athlete who has served a drug suspension are deemed ineligible for national teams in any sport for three years, with that time span beginning on the day on which the suspension ends. However, some people in the legal community are pressuring the KOC to change the rule, claiming it unfairly punishes athletes twice.