Park Tae Hwan Sues Clinic Over Doping Allegations

kpopluv, Jan. 28, 2015, 9:12 a.m.

Star swimmer Park Tae-hwan tested positive for the banned substance testosterone and faces further allegations of repeated doping.  Park's agency Team GMP said the Olympic gold medalist is suing a local clinic for giving him an injection which was later revealed to contain testosterone.  Prosecutors searched the hospital and summoned Park for questioning on Sunday. 

According to prosecutors, Park received an injection of a drug called Nebido at the hospital in July last year. Nebido is more widely known as injectable testosterone to treat erectile dysfunction. Athletes are banned from receiving injections of testosterone, which strengthens muscles, and Nebido is also prohibited. 

Park was given the injection while he was receiving a free chiropractic treatment. He claims he asked the doctor if the injection contained any banned substances but did not check the name of the drug.

The doctor told prosecutors on Monday that he administered testosterone in order to supplement a shortage of the hormone and did not know it was a banned substance. Prosecutors are considering charging the doctor with either infliction of bodily harm or negligence.  According to Supreme Court precedent, no external wounds have to exist in order to charge someone with inflicting bodily harm.

The doctor told prosecutors that he first gave Park the injection in December of 2013 and handed over paperwork to the athlete's manager identifying the drugs. He added he was told there were no problems after a doping test conducted in February 2014.  He therefore had no qualms about administering Nebido a second time in July of that year, he added.

Park underwent a doping test in early September of last year, just before the Incheon Asian Games opened. Jung Il-chung, managing director of the Korea Swimming Federation, said the World Anti-Doping Agency took a sample as well.  The swimmer must appear next month in front of FINA, the international swimming governing body. Guilty athletes face up to a four-year suspension even if the doping was unintentional.

Park tested negative in a doping test during the Asian Games, by which time the testosterone could have dissipated since two months had passed since his first injection.  But WADA collected the sample just a month after he received the shot and traces of testosterone may still have remained in his body at that time.

If Park is punished, he could be stripped of all of his medals, points and other benefits won after the doping test. Park won one silver and five bronze medals at the Asian Games. If he ends up being suspended for an extended period, he may have to sit out not only the FINA World Aquatics Championships in July but the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio as well. 

Park did not renew his contract with Australian swimming coach Michael Bohl, who trained him since 2010, but had been preparing to compete again by training in the U.S.

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