Seoul - Disgraced South Korean swim star
Park Tae-Hwan literally got down on his hands and knees Monday and begged the
Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) to let him compete in the Rio Games.
The multiple Olympic medallist completed an
18-month drug ban last month after testing positive for a banned anabolic
steroid in out-of-competition controls before the 2014 Asian Games.
But the 26-year-old remains barred from
competing in Rio by a KOC rule banned athletes from representing the country
for three years after the expiration of any doping ban.
"I will be grateful if I could be
given another chance to serve my country and put on a good performance for the
South Korean people," Park told reporters at a press event in Incheon west
He then got down on his knees and bowed his
head to the floor, in a traditional Korean gesture of extreme remorse.
Park was once the poster-boy of South
Korean swimming - courted by advertisers and idolised by fans.
He won 400m freestyle gold and 200m
freestyle silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and two silver medals at the 2012
London Olympics, as well as 400m world titles in 2007 and 2011.
On his competitive return to the pool last
month, he easily won the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1 500m freestyle events at the
88th Dong-A meet - which doubles as a national trial.
His performance reignited debate around the
fairness of the KOC regulation, which remains the only barrier to Park
competing in Rio.
His positive doping test was only revealed
in January last year, and was initially blamed by Park's management team on the
incompetence of a doctor at the hospital where the swimmer was receiving