Seoul - Disgraced South Korean swim star
Park Tae-Hwan made a winning return to competition on Monday after serving an
18-month drug ban which has ruled him out of the Olympics.
Park won the 1 500 metres at the 88th
Dong-A meet in Gwangju, which doubles as South Korea's national trials for the
Rio Games - for which the multiple Olympic medallist remains ineligible.
Earlier this month, the Korean Olympic
Committee said it was enforcing its rule preventing athletes who have served
doping suspensions from representing the country for three years after their
Park, who won 400m freestyle gold and 200m
freestyle silver at the 2008 Olympics, tested positive for a banned anabolic
steroid in out-of-competition controls before the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
The 26-year-old was later banned for 18
months by world body FINA, with the suspension starting from the time of the
failed test and running until March this year.
Park was a poster-boy for the Asian Games,
where the swimming events were held in the "Park Tae-Hwan Aquatics
Centre", but he failed to win a title in front of his home fans.
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
Park was South Korea's first Olympic
swimming medallist. He also won two silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics,
along with 400m world titles in 2007 and 2011.