South Korea’s first Olympic swimming gold medallist Park Tae-hwan has failed a doping test, his agency has confirmed.
The test was administered by global swimming body Fina before the Asian Games in September in Incheon, the Korea Swimming Federation said.
Park’s management has attributed the failed test to an injection for chiropractic treatment.
Park, nicknamed “Marine Boy”, is a celebrated figure in South Korea.
He won gold and silver medals at the past two Olympic Games, and even has an aquatic arena named after him.
On Tuesday, Yonhap news agency reported that Park would have to face an international hearing.
Fina officials have not named the drug found in Park’s body during the test.
His agency Team GMP said that Park was injected with a banned substance by a doctor while seeking chiropractic treatment.
They said that he had asked the doctor about the contents of the injection and had been assured it did not contain illegal substances.
“As a world class swimmer, Park Tae-hwan has been extremely careful about what he takes, and he hasn’t even taken cold medicine so that he wouldn’t fail doping tests… Park is more shocked by this result than anyone else,” the management said in a statement.
They added that they were preparing to “hold (the hospital) civilly and criminally liable”.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Park won gold in the 400m freestyle and silver in the 200m freestyle. He won silver in both events at the 2012 London Olympics.
But he fared less successfully at the Asian Games last year, where he won bronze medals for those events as well as a silver in the 100m freestyle.
Park is the second high-profile Asian swimmer revealed to have failed a doping test in recent months.
In November, China revealed that Sun Yang had served a three-month doping ban before the Asian Games. China said Sun had failed his test because of medicine taken for a heart condition.
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