World Triathlon Executive Board member and Asia Triathlon President, Justin Sukwon Park, has been suspended for two years by the World Triathlon Tribunal for alleged violations of the World Triathlon Safeguarding Policy and the World Triathlon Code of Ethics. Mr Jae-Keun Lee, Korea Triathlon Federation Secretary General, Mr Woo-Kyong Ki, Business Operations Manager of the KTF, and Mr Yonghu Jeon, Deputy Secretary General of the KTF, have also been suspended for 18 months for violations of the World Triathlon Code of Ethics.
World Triathlon Executive suspensions
The Tribunal ruled that Mr Park committed violations of both Codes 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.
Mr Sukwon Park was, at the relevant time, President of the Korean Triathlon Federation, President of Asia Triathlon and an Executive Board Member of World Triathlon.
Following the decision of the Tribunal on 8 February 2022, Mr Park has been suspended as World Triathlon Executive Board member and on February 28 he resigned as Asia Triathlon President.
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.
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.
According to the Tribunal, 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 Panel considers that the appropriate sanction for Mr Park’s violations of these two Charges shall be suspension from any office and from taking part in any Triathlon-related activity within World Triathlon and its members (including Asia Triathlon) for the period of two years.
The Panel of the World Triathlon Tribunal also decided that J K Lee, W K Ki and Y H Jeon have committed violations of Articles C.1.g and C.1.e of the World Triathlon Code of Ethics and are suspended from any office and from taking part in any Triathlon-related activity within World Triathlon and its members for the period of eighteen months from the date of this decision, February 8, 2022.