Doctor pleads not guilty in Park doping case

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2015 3:35 AM

SEOUL (Reuters) - The doctor who administered injections which caused decorated South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan to fail a doping test pleaded not guilty to charges of professional negligence at a Seoul court on Tuesday.

The doctor, identified only by her surname Kim, is accused by prosecutors of failing to disclose the substances contained in the injection, as well as violating the medical code and causing 2008 Olympic champion Park bodily harm.

A double world champion and the first Korean to win an Olympic swimming medal, Park tested positive for testosterone ahead of the Asian Games last September.

He said he had been assured by the hospital that the injections contained only vitamins.

However, Kim's lawyer, Moon Jeong-il, said the doctor had specifically asked Park in 2013 to confirm whether the substances were on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list.

"Kim has no professional knowledge in sports and had never treated an athlete before," Yonhap News quoted Moon as telling the judge at Seoul Central District Court.

"That's why she explicitly asked Park to be the one making the call in October 2013."

Park was scheduled to appear as a witness on June 4, Yonhap said.

The case has stunned the sporting community in South Korea, which took enormous pride from Park's 400 metres freestyle gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

At a news conference in March, a tearful Park apologized for the failed test and said he should have taken more care to find out what the injection contained.

The 25-year-old received an 18-month ban from the sport by swimming's governing body FINA, leaving his chances of competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics hanging by a thread.

(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by John O'Brien)