Abuse and Cheating Scandals Rock Korean Skaters


South Korean coaches are finding themselves in hot water at the moment.

Korea is set to investigate allegations of abuse made by an athlete at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, about his treatment at the hands of his coach.

The family of boccia player Ji Kwang-min, who has cerebral palsy, has made an official complaint against trainer Kim Jin-han for his actions during the summer event. Ji claimed a drunken Kim beat him.

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The country's chief delegate at the games promised that violence, if discovered, will not be tolerated.

“The allegation is now under investigation,” Jang Choon-bae said told the Korea Times. “We do not know what really happened yet. However, if the accusation turns out to be true, we will take the strongest disciplinary action possible.” 

Ji, 31, is the captain of the Boccia team, and said that as well as the abuse, before and during the games, coach Kim had also taken around $900 from him.

Coach Kim told Ilgan Sports that the allegations are false.

"I have never assaulted the players. It was only a couple of kkulbam [a light rap on the head with the knuckles]. The allegation of money extortion is also different from what happened," said Kim.

Jang did note that the pair looked friendly in London but added as the Boccia team did not perform to expectations, that could have been a problem.

“Maybe the bad result at the Paralympics was the cause of the problem,” said Jang. “No matter what, we will not condone violence and proper action will be taken based on the facts after the probe.”

Kim is not the only Korean coach to be under the microscope

Earlier this month Jae-su Chun was placed on administrative leave by U.S. Speedskating after allegations that he had abused athletes verbally and physically.

Chun, who has been a short-track coach with the U.S. since 2007, denied claims that he repeatedly hit an athlete.

“I did push him and we had a disagreement,” Chun said in a letter to media outlets. “Later I apologized to him. We resolved the conflict amicably and certainly he was not injured. In fact, he won several medals the next day at the World Championships.

“We continue to have a good relationship. I will add that although approached, he is not one of the athletes who have brought the complaint against me.”

There have also been allegations that Chun told Simon Cho, one of his skaters, to tamper with the skates of Canadian rival Oliver Jean at the World Short Track Championships in Warsaw in 2011. Jean was forced out of the race with malfunctioning skates.

"We were in a position to win the world team championship title," Jean said. The title "was going to be decided with the relay. After the first lap of the relay, I saw it was impossible for me to skate. One of my blades was broken. At the time we didn't understand what happened. It was hard to explain. We had our suspicions that they were tampered with but we had no proof."

The case is being investigated.

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