South Korea’s four-time Olympic swimming medallist Park Tae-Hwan has finally broken his silence after being slapped with a 18-month ban for testing positive for testosterone – a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Known affectionately as “Marine Boy” in South Korea, where he is something of a national icon, Park tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid at an out-of-competition control before the Asian Games on September 3 last year.
At a news conference on Friday (Mar 27), Park offered an apology. “I’d like to extend my sincere apologies to everyone in South Korea who always show unwavering support to me. I am sorry and ashamed by this unacceptable incident for which I too cannot forgive myself.”
This was his first public appearance since he received his suspension on Monday. The 18-month ban began retroactively the day of the positive test and will end in March 2016.
Park has said he had no knowledge that the injection he received contained the banned substance. The doctor who gave him the injection has been indicted by prosecutors for professional negligence.
Whatever the circumstances, Park said he would take full responsibility. He said: “Question of intention aside, as a representative swimmer of South Korea, I sincerely regret the outcome (of this incident). I was ignorant about the world beyond the swimming pool. Regardless of the reason or process, this (incident) is due to my carelessness.”
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