World Triathlon Executive Board member suspended over issues around Korean athlete’s suicide


Justin Sukwon Park, a member of World Triathlon’s executive board and the Asia Triathlon President, has been suspended by World Triathlon for two years over the “handling of allegations made by South Korean triathlete Choi Suk-Hyeon, who committed suicide on 26 June 2020, after years of alleged physical and verbal abuse by her coach and teammates,” according to a release triathlon’s governing body sent out today. Other officials were also suspended for 18 months including Jae-Keun Lee, Korea Triathlon Federation (KTF) Secretary General, Woo-Kyong Ki, Business Operations Manager of the KTF and Yonghu Jeon, Deputy Secretary General of the KTF, for violations of the World Triathlon Code of Ethics.

We reported on the jail sentences given to Suk-Hyeon’s coach and massage therapist last year.

When Choi committed suicide, Park was the President of the Korean Triathlon Federation in addition to his positions with Asia Triathlon and on the World Triathlon Executive Board.

“The Tribunal considered Mr Park failed to ensure that the Korean Triathlon Federation immediately informed Lead Welfare Officers at World Triathlon of any reported cases of harassment and abuse to happen in its federation, in accordance to the World Triathlon Safeguarding Policy,” World Triathlon said in today’s statement. “He also failed to ensure that the personal rights of individuals were protected, respected, and safeguarded. Mr Park is also considered to have failed to act in accordance with the fiduciary duties of an office bearer, compliant with the spirit and letter of the law and recognising of both the legal and moral duties of the role, in accordance to the World Triathlon Code of Ethics.”

“Considering the seriousness of the alleged harassment and abuse of Ms Choi, the KTF’s failure to inform World Triathlon of the matter until after Ms Choi’s death, and its failure to inform Lead Welfare Officers of World Triathlon of the allegations at all, and given Mr Park’s close relationship and contacts with World Triathlon, and his failure to ensure that the KTF complied with its reporting obligation, either through its officers or personally,” the statement continued. He has been suspended for “alleged violations of the World Triathlon Safeguarding Policy and Code of Ethics.