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Judoka An Ba-ul gets 6-month suspension for doctoring service records

All Headlines 16:05 February 28, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean judoka An Ba-ul was suspended for six months for doctoring his community service records, the sport's national governing body said Thursday, clouding his chances of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Korea Judo Association (KJA) said its disciplinary committee decided to mete out a six-month ban against An, adding that the Olympic silver-winning judoka will not be able compete in any competitions until July 15.

The KJA said the decision blocks An from competing in a national team selection competition that starts March 12, and the judoka will also not represent South Korea at the World Judo Championships in Tokyo in August.

The World Judo Championships offer the most points for Olympic qualification, and being unable to participate in the competition will have a big negative impact on An's bid to compete at Tokyo 2020.

In this file photo taken July 10, 2018, South Korean judoka An Ba-ul (L) trains with a teammate at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province. (Yonhap)

In November, An found himself in hot water after local media reported that the 24-year-old fabricated records of his community service, which he had to complete as an alternative to active military duty.

Winners of any Olympic medal or an Asian Games gold medal are exempted from mandatory military service and are required to conduct 544 hours of sports-related community service over 34 months.

An took silver in the men's 66-kilogram division judo competition at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

An reported to the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation that he had completed 300 hours of community service between November 2016 and July 2018. However, some of his records were suspicious as they showed he had done community service at his alma mater on a day that he was training at the national training center in Jincheon, 90 kilometers south of Seoul.

The KJA said its disciplinary committee originally decided on a one-year suspension for An but decided to cut it to six months.

"An did complete 365.5 hours of community service, and he has done other community service that was not recorded in the documents," the KJA said. "We also considered his achievements for the country."

An, who has a gold medal from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, said he is sorry for his misconduct and will do his best to complete his remaining service.

"I'm deeply sorry to people who were offended by my reckless behavior," he said. "After the national training center was moved to Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, I didn't want my training to be affected by my long commute to the community service location, and I made a careless decision."

An is not the first athlete to receive punishment over fake community service records. In November, football player Jang Hyun-soo was permanently banned from the national team and slapped with a fine of 30 million won (US$26,700) by the Korea Football Association (KFA).


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