S. Korea's swimming star Park Tae-hwan fails a doping test
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) South Korea's only Olympic swimming champion, Park Tae-hwan, failed a recent doping test and put his hopes of competing at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016 in doubt.
Park tested positive for an unspecified banned substance in early September in a test arranged by swimming world governing body FINA, according to his agency Team GMP and Korea Swimming Federation on Tuesday.
South Korean media reported the substance was testosterone.
The 25-year-old Park has been a national hero in South Korea since he won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was South Korea's first Olympic swimming medal, and he also owns the country's only other three Olympic swimming medals. Park added a silver in Beijing, and two more silvers at the 2012 London Games.
''Park Tae-hwan is more shocked by the results of a doping test than anyone else,'' Team GMP said in a statement.
Team GMP officials blamed the positive test on an injection administered by a local hospital, which offered him free chiropractic and other treatments in July. The doping test he failed was before the Asian Games, which began in late September in Incheon. There, Park won one silver and five bronze medals, and passed doping tests during the event, according to Team GMP and swimming officials.
Team GMP said the hospital told them the injection didn't contain any prohibited substance, but it was later found that it did.
Team GMP said it has asked authorities to investigate why the hospital gave Park the injection, and news reports said prosecutors subsequently quizzed Park and hospital officials about the injection. Park told investigators he was given the injection without knowing what specific substances it contained, while the hospital said it didn't know testosterone was a prohibited substance, according to Yonhap news agency.
Park faces a doping hearing in late February, and a possible two-year ban.
Yonhap said prosecutors were considering whether to indict a hospital doctor on charges of inflicting injury on Park or professional negligence.
Prosecutors involved in the case couldn't immediately be reached for comments. Team GMP and the Seoul-based Korea Swimming Federation said they couldn't confirm the Yonhap report.