SEOUL : The Court of Arbitration for Sport has cleared the way for former Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan to compete at the Rio Games after upholding his appeal against a Korean Olympic Committee doping ban, Yonhap news reported today. Park, the first Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal when he won the 400 freestyle gold in Beijing, completed an 18-month ban imposed by world governing - FINA in March after testing positive for testosterone ahead of the 2014 Asian Games.
However, under a KOC regulation, he was then subjected to an additional three-year ban from the national team the day the FINA suspension expired, effectively ruling him out of the Rio Olympics.
Park took his case to CAS, sport's highest tribunal, and also filed an injunction against the KOC and Korea Swimming Federation with Seoul Eastern District Court, which ruled last week he should be considered eligible for selection again.
Today, the deadline for South Korea to submit a list of swimmers to compete in Rio, Yonhap reported that CAS had backed his bid to repeal the KOC ban. CAS, which has yet to confirm the decision, has previously struck down double-barrelled punishments for athletes banned for doping-related offences.
In 2011, the Swiss-based tribunal ruled that the International Olympic Committee's 'Osaka Rule', which banned athletes serving suspensions of at least six months from competing at the next Games, violated its own statutes. Despite the KOC ban, Park entered national swimming trials in April and won all four of his races in times quick enough for Olympic qualification.