2008 Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan banned for 18 months

2008 Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan banned for 18 months

South Korea`s four-time Olympic swimming medallist Park Tae-hwan was banned for 18 months by world swimming body FINA on Monday for failing a dope test.

The 25-year-old tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid at an out-of-competition control in September last year.

The ban for his first doping violation will run until March 2, 2016 which will in theory allow him to compete at the Rio Olympics later that year.

The positive test sent shock waves through the sport in South Korea where prosecutors last month announced charges against a doctor for giving Park an injection without disclosing it contained the banned steroid testosterone.

The swimming star dubbed "Marine Boy" blamed the injection -- administered last July -- for a positive drug test on urine samples he provided in September, prior to the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea, where disappointingly for his home fans he had to be content with three bronze medals.

Park -- who has six Asian Games titles to his name -- won 400m freestyle gold and 200m freestyle silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, becoming South Korea`s first Olympic swimming medallist.

He also won silver in both events at the 2012 London Olympics, along with 400m gold in the world championships in 2007 and 2011.

But he has struggled to repeat that form and failed to win a title at his home Asian Games in September, competing in a pool that bore his name.

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