Korea to appeal short track penalties at Court of Arbitration for Sport
Korea will take its appeal against refereeing decisions at Monday night's Beijing Olympics short track speed skating events to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest international sports tribunal in the world.
The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that it will appeal two controversial refereeing decisions on Monday night that prevented Korean skaters from reaching the final in the men's 1000 meters, allowing Chinese skaters to progress instead. The complaint was already lodged with the chief referee at the race, the International Skating Union and the International Olympic Committee.
Korea saw four serious medal contenders knocked out of contention during the short track speed skating events on Monday night. While Choi Min-jeong crashed out of the women's 500 meters and Park Jang-hyuk was forced to drop out of men's 1000 meters with an injury, both Hwang Dae-heon and Lee June-seo finished their semifinals in qualifying positions and were then penalized and removed from the competition.
Hwang crossed the finish line first in his heat but was disqualified for making an illegal late passing that caused contact, taking the world record holder out of the Games.
Lee finished his race in second, but, after a lengthy video review, was disqualified for a lane change that caused contact with Liu Shaoang of Hungary.
Both penalties were controversial, with Hwang in particular being penalized for an infraction despite also appearing to have been pushed by a Chinese skater during the race.
The two penalties opened up spots in the final for Chinese skaters, repeating the story of the mixed team relay on Saturday. During that event, the United States and Russia were both disqualified from a semifinal, allowing the Chinese team to advance and ultimately win gold. In Monday's 1000 meters, China went on to win gold and silver.
The two decisions, combined with Saturday's mixed team relay result, caused an uproar in Korea, where some fans feel that refereeing has been skewed to allow China to win on home ice.
Even before the Olympics began, Korean short track skaters raised concerns about the judging they anticipated facing in Beijing.
“I have already experienced at the first World Cup that the Beijing Games are going to be tough," Kwak Yoon-gy, Korea's most experienced short-track skater, said during training ahead of the Games. "The atmosphere is tense to the extent that we are saying that we could be disqualified even with the slightest breeze.”
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]