by Yonhap news
South Korean judoka An Ba-ul will not compete at the World Championships due to a suspension of 6 month which results in missing the national selection for the Worlds starting at 12 March. An was suspended for six months for doctoring his community service records. The suspension is clouding his chances of competing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The Korea Judo Association (KJA) said its disciplinary committee decided to mete out a six-month ban against An, adding that the Olympic silver-winning judoka will not be able compete in any competitions until July 15.
In November, An found himself in hot water after local media reported that the 24-year-old fabricated records of his community service, which he had to complete as an alternative to active military duty. An reported to the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation that he had completed 300 hours of community service between November 2016 and July 2018. However, some of his records were suspicious as they showed he had done community service at his alma mater on a day that he was training at the national training center in Jincheon, 90 kilometers south of Seoul.
Winners of any Olympic medal or an Asian Games gold medal are exempted from mandatory military service and are required to conduct 544 hours of sports-related community service over 34 months.
An took silver in the men’s 66-kilogram division judo competition at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The KJA said its disciplinary committee originally decided on a one-year suspension for An but decided to cut it to six months.
“An did complete 365.5 hours of community service, and he has done other community service that was not recorded in the documents,” the KJA said. “We also considered his achievements for the country.”
An, who has a gold medal from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, said he is sorry for his misconduct and will do his best to complete his remaining service.
“I’m deeply sorry to people who were offended by my reckless behavior,” he said. “After the national training center was moved to Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, I didn’t want my training to be affected by my long commute to the community service location, and I made a careless decision.”