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Triathletes disciplined for alleged abuse appeal bans

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, July 6. (Yonhap)
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, July 6. (Yonhap)

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.

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.

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.

(Yonhap)

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