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No rule revision for specific athlete: KOC

All News 18:20 April 07, 2016

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- The nation's top sports body announced Thursday it is not appropriate to amend rules for a specific athlete regarding national team selection, defending its previous decision to prohibit former Olympic swimming gold medalist Park Tae-hwan from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games.

The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) said in a release that its committee for sports fair play came to the conclusion Wednesday that it is not right to change its national team selection rule to help a single person. The KOC instituted a rule in July 2014 that prevents athletes who've served doping suspensions from representing the country for three years, starting on the day the suspension ends.

It was already reported Wednesday that Park will have to give up his dream to compete at the Rio Games as the KOC said it does not plan to amend its rule, but the KOC released a statement Thursday that cemented the decision and confirms Park's exit.

"Regarding the fairness of the law, we decided there will be no rule revision for a specific athlete," the KOC said in a statement. "Even if there is a request to amend the rule in the future, it is unlikely that the decision will be reversed."

The rule sparked a public debate whether Park Tae-hwan would be allowed to compete at the Rio Games. Park recently served an 18-month suspension after testing positive for testosterone, and his ban ended on March 2.

"Athletes who are punished for charges like assault and sexual harassment also cannot be national team members for three years after their suspension ends," the KOC said. "The committee decided that the doping suspension and team selection are two separate issues and therefore it's not a double punishment."


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