SEOUL: An Olympic silver medal-winning judoka was expelled from South Korea’s national training centre on Monday (Nov 19) and suspended from a Grand Slam event after being accused of fabricating documents for his military service exemption.
Nearly every able-bodied South Korean man aged 18 to 28 owes 21 months of military service by law, but Olympic medal winners and Asian Games champions are granted special exemptions.
However they are still required to complete basic military training of up to 60 days, as well as 544 hours of sports-related community service.
An Ba-ul, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, submitted documents purporting to show he had completed 300 hours of community service between November 2016 and July this year.
But South Korea’s YTN news channel reported discrepancies: An said he carried out community service at a school on the same day he attended an open training session at the national training centre.
The Korea Judo Association (KJA) said it had expelled An from the centre and barred him from representing South Korea at a Grand Slam event in Osaka, Japan this week.
“We still need to review the case for further measures,” a KJA official told AFP.
An has yet to comment on the issue.
Earlier this month, South Korean footballer Jang Hyun-soo was banned from the national team for life by the Korea Football Association for submitting false documents for his military exemption.
South Korea has recently hinted at a possible reform of its controversial military service exemption programme, which critics say unfairly rewards athletes and artists for their one-off achievements.