Korean National Triathlete Choi Sook Hyun has taken her life after being allegedly abused and assaulted for years by her coach, team doctor and senior teammates. She reportedly died by suicide on June 26, as no action was taken against the accused even after filing a number of complaints.
Her last message was to her mother and here is the conversation:
Choi Sook Hyun: Mom, I love you.
Choi Sook Hyun: Reveal those people and their sins.
Mother: Please, pick up your phone. Tell me what's going on? Let's talk over the phone.
After this, it was said that the family couldn't reach Choi Sook Hyun and her phone was switched off.
Choi Sook Hyun was 22 years old and was with the Gyeongju City team. This year she had filed a complaint with Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) and also the police against being abused. She had requested KSOC, South Korea's top governing body for sports, for an investigation in April.
Choi Sook Hyun's family alleged that no action was taken even after her compliant. But according to AFP, KSOC stated that they appointed a female investigator to look into the matter. Reacting to the news, the Korean Triathlon Federation promised to take action against those found guilty.
Choi Soo Hyun joined the national triathlon team in 2015 when she was a high school student. But after joining the team, she had alleged that she was being beaten up and forced to do things that made her life difficult. Messages on her phone have been released to the media and it shows how she was abused by her coach and team doctor.
Diary, Phone Messages Reveal Shocking Details
Her personal diary has recorded the incidents and explained how she shed tears every day. She had repeatedly written that she would rather die than being beaten up like a dog.
She was also tortured for weight gain. According to the diary, she was abused even after reaching the weight control target. The coach even made her buy 200,000 won (US$166) worth bread and stuffed it into her mouth till she vomited and repeated the process over and again, her father told the media.
One of the conversations between a triathlon team official and Choi Sook Hyun speaks about how she was treated in the team.
Official: You worked out twice and didn't eat, but how did you still gain weight? What were you thinking?
Choi Sook Hyun: I drank too much water.
Official: It's your fault. Starve for 3 days. Shouldn't you take responsibility for your mistakes?
It was also said that he often slapped her. Apart from treating her like this also he threatened her against showing a sullen face the next day.
Assaults by Team Doctor and Coach
She was also abused by her team doctor in March 2019. "You've been hit by me twice before right? You should be hit every day. If you don't want to, just take the curses," states one of the messages sent by the doctor.
Her diary mentions that after this message she was called and was abused, slapped for 20 minutes by the team doctor. He was later allegedly joined by a senior team member in assaulting the victim. The coach is also said to have slapped her, kicked her in the chest and stomach and pushed her head to the wall.
According to Koreaboo, one of her former teammates revealed that she was being teased for having the looks of a transgender. They even accused her of being close to boys. Due to these comments she had stopped going out and started avoiding people. They made her life difficult, said the former teammate.