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South Korean skating champ guilty of sex harassment

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South Korean Olympic gold medallist Lim Hyo-jun was convicted of sexually harassing a fellow male athlete. AFP

South Korean skating champ guilty of sex harassment

South Korean Olympic short-track speed skating gold medallist Lim Hyo-jun was convicted on Thursday of sexually harassing a fellow male athlete by pulling down his trousers, a Seoul court said.

Lim, 23, won the 1500m on home ice at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang and also took bronze in the 500m.

But last year, he was charged for forcibly pulling down the victim’s clothing in front of teammates at the national training centre, and in August was banned from competition for a year.

He was fined three million won ($2,500) and ordered to undergo 40 hours of therapy for sex offenders, a Seoul Central District Court spokesperson told AFP.

Reports said prosecutors had requested a prison sentence.

The South is a regional sporting power and regularly in the top 10 medal table places at the summer and winter Olympics.

However, in an already intensely competitive society, winning is virtually everything in its sports community – and physical and verbal abuse are rife.

The nation’s short-track speed skating community in particular has faced several serious abuse scandals in recent years.

Last year, double Olympic gold medallist Shim Suk-hee went public with accusations her former coach sexually molested and physically abused her multiple times.

The coach was jailed for a year-and-a-half.

Also last year, a male skater was suspended for a month after secretly getting into the female dorm at the national training centre.

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