Apology the priority for Park, says swim federation

Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:49pm EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of South Korea's swimming federation says there will be time to discuss Park Tae-hwan's future but first and foremost the swimmer has to apologize for failing a doping test that resulted in an 18-month ban.

Park, a twice world champion and the first Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal, tested positive for testosterone in an out-of-competition test conducted by the sport's ruling body FINA last September ahead of the Asian Games.

The suspension was backdated from Sept. 3 and runs through March 2 2016, leaving the door open for Park to return in time of the Rio Olympics.

However, under current Korean Olympic Committee rules Park would then have to wait a further three years before he would be eligible for selection again, by which time he would be 29.

KSF President Lee Ki-heung said on Wednesday that rule could be revisited but Park had some explaining to do.

"First and foremost, Park has to sincerely apologize to those who he has disappointed and he should take some time for self-reflection.

“After that we'll sit down with Park and discuss his situation before deciding what our next step will be," he told reporters at Incheon airport after flying back from Park's doping hearing in Switzerland.

Park's agency, Team GMP, released a statement late on Tuesday apologizing for the failed test.   Continued...

South Korea's Park Tae-hwan poses with his silver medal for the men's 200m freestyle final at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 30, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray