A former speed skating coach, who was found guilty for hitting a two-time Olympic champion, will face a longer jail term as a South Korean appeals court on Wednesday to double the sentence that is required to warn the sports officials against the use of violence as a training method.
As per the accusations by Olympic champion Shim Suk-hee, her coach not only showed violent attitude during training but also sexually abused her. This case, which triggered South Korea's largest investigation into physical and sexual assaults in sports, also sparked a flood of similar incidents.
In September 2018, a lower court of South Korea has jailed Cho Jae-beom, the former national coach was sentenced for 10 months on a conviction of assaulting the 21-year-old Shim.
As per the Reuters report, Suwon District Court raised the sentence to 18 months and said that even though the accused has shown regret "but has severely hit the victim with his fists and feet ever since the victim was young, taking as the reason a slack attitude during training."
It added that the previous sentence was too light and there is a need to "sternly warn sports leaders who still consider this as a method of training athletes and fundamentally prevent a repeat of assault incidents."
The lawyer, who was representing Shim, Im Sang-hyeok told the domestic news agency News1 that it is a good sign that Cho's sentence has gone up but, he added that "it still seems too light. I believe more strict punishment is needed. I believe prosecutors will decide on further appeal if only to send a warning."
In December the Olympic medallist said that her coach sexually abused her from the time she was 17. Later, in January 2019, Cho was questioned twice on the accusation at a detention centre where he is being held but, he denied all the claims made by Shim. It should be noted that the former coach has not been charged for the sexual abuse allegations.
However, Speed skating is one of the best sports in South Korea. Only in this field, South Korean skaters had won 24 gold medals since it became an Olympic event in 1992.
After this case, several other athletes on sports such as judo and archery came forward to tell their stories of assault and sexual abuse.
On Friday, January 25 the South Korean government said that they would conduct an inquiry along with the National Human Rights Commission. As per the officials, the motive of this inquiry will be to investigate conditions for about 63000 student-athletes.