The head coach and captain of the Gyeongju City Hall team have been banned for life following the suicide of triathlete Choi Suk Hyeon, also known as Choi Sook Hyeon. The National triathlon champion Choi Suk Hyeon, 22, killed herself last month, accusing the coach and captain of harassing and abusing her.
The triathlete had jumped to her death at her dormitory in the southern city of Busan on June 26. She had even filed a complaint with the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) against harassment meted out to her by the coach and the team doctor.
Accordingly, the Gyeongju City Hall team's coach Kim Kyu Bong and team captain Jang Yun Jung have been held responsible and have been banned for life from the sport under the Korea Triathlon Federation's disciplinary laws.
Choi Suk Hyeon had also accused another senior athlete of the team of harassing her. Even that athlete has been banned for 10 years from triathlon. Details about the athlete have not been revealed yet.
The coach, captain and athletes were asked to testify at the National Assembly on June 6. All have denied the charges against them. But speaking out about harassment, Choi Suk Hyeon's former teammates have also said that their life in the team was hell and accused the coach of beating them up regularly and abusing them verbally. They also said that Choi Suk Hyeon frequently told them that the coach and senior athletes were harassing her.
Coach Had Forced Mother to Slap Choi Suk Hyeon
The latest details reveal that the coach had forced Choi Suk Hyeon's mother to slap her. Explaining the details of the incident, Choi Suk Hyeon's father spoke to The Korea Daily and said that in April 2017, the coach made him and his wife go to Choi Suk Hyeon's dorm and slapped her in front of them. Then, he asked his mother to slap her, citing that Choi Suk Hyeon had committed a grave crime.
The parents were also seen kneeling before the coach, but later yielded to his force and the mother had to slap their daughter. "She had no choice but to slap her," said Choi Suk Hyeon's father. He also said that after the coach made Choi Suk Hyeon's mother slap her, he continued to slap her in front of them.
The grave mistake the coach was referring to was that Choi Suk Hyeon had left her dorm for two days without his permission.