Former Olympic weightlifting champion suspended for assault


Seoul (AFP)

South Korea's weightlifting federation Monday suspended a former Olympic champion for 10 years for allegedly assaulting and badly injuring another player.

Sa Jae-Hyouk, gold medallist in the men's 77kg class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is being probed by police for punching a fellow weightlifter last Thursday.

The victim, Hwang Woo-Man, 21, is being treated in hospital for an injury to his face, requiring six weeks to recover.

Photos of Hwang's badly bruised face were posted on the Internet over the weekend, sparking a storm of criticism of Sa.

Sa, 31, reportedly admitted the charge during police investigation.

The Korea Weightlifting Federation (KWF) held a disciplinary committee meeting Monday that unanimously voted to suspend Sa for 10 years, a KWF spokesman said.

"The decision was made quickly as it was such a grave incident and created a big stir," he said.

The decade-long suspension is expected to effectively put an end to Sa's career.

He suffered an arm injury during his title defence at the 2012 London Olympics and has been training since then to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

South Korean sports from basketball to volleyball have for decades been marred by scandals over physical assaults on athletes by coaches or older, more experienced players.

Last October, short track speed skater Sin Da-Woon received a five-month suspension for beating up a junior player who had clashed with him during training.