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(LEAD) Coach, triathletes disciplined for alleged abuse appeal bans

All Headlines 19:20 July 14, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with coach's appeal; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- A triathlon coach and his two athletes penalized for allegedly abusing a late member of their team have appealed their bans.

The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) said Kim Gyu-bong, head coach of Gyeongju City Hall's semi-pro club, plus two triathletes, Kim Do-hwan and his teammate, surnamed Jang, submitted their appeals via email on Tuesday.

Kim Do-hwan and Jang filed their appeals earlier in the day. Coach Kim appeared to have missed his 6 p.m. deadline to submit his appeal, but the KSOC explained that Kim's appeal arrived late in the afternoon and that he only had to do so before the end of Tuesday.

In this file photo from July 6, 2020, Kim Gyu-bong, head coach of the triathlon team at Gyeongju City Hall and a central figure in an abuse scandal involving a late athlete, leaves the disciplinary committee meeting held by the Korea Triathlon Federation in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Choi Suk-hyeon, a former member of the team in Gyeongju, 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, was found dead on June 26 but not before accusing coach Kim, Kim Do-hwan and Jang, plus team therapist Ahn Joo-hyeon, of verbally and physically abusing her on multiple occasions. Choi had earlier made allegations with local police and with both the KSCO and the Korea Triathlon Federation. Choi's pleas for help had gone unanswered, and it was only after her passing that legal and sports authorities began looking into those allegations more seriously.

In this photo, provided by a reader on July 9, 2020, triathlete Kim Do-hwan stands before an urn containing remains of his late teammate Choi Suk-hyeon to pay his respects at a memorial park in Seongju, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Kim admitted to allegations made earlier by Choi that he had physically assaulted her while they were teammates for Gyeonggju City Hall club. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

On July 6, the triathlon body banned coach Kim and Jang for life and Kim Do-hwan for 10 years.

Ahn, who wasn't on the Gyeongju club pay roll and thus wasn't punished by the triathlon body, is under police investigation for his abuse charges.

Kim Gyu-bong, Kim Do-hwan and Jang all initially denied their charges during the triathlon federation's disciplinary hearing. But Kim Do-hwan has since admitted to his wrongdoing and apologized to Choi and her family.

In this file photo from July 6, 2020, a South Korean triathlete surnamed Jang, a former teammate of the late Choi Suk-hyeon on the Gyeongju City Hall semi-pro club, enters a conference room at a Seoul hotel for the disciplinary hearing by the Korea Triathlon Federation. Before her death, Choi accused Jang of physically and verbally abusing her, claims that Jang denied. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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