Taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君), who was disqualified during a match at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last month, was banned from competition for three months in a ruling released yesterday by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
Yang’s coach Liu Tsung-ta (劉聰達) was suspended for one year and eight months, the federation said, while the Chinese Taipei Taewondo Association was fined US$50,000 because Yang and Liu protested the decision ringside at the Asiad on Nov. 17.
A tearful Yang said she felt her coach and the association were being punished because of her.
“The coach gave us athletes so much and yet was penalized,” Yang said in Taipei last night.
However, a three-month suspension is basically a slap on the wrist because there are no major international taekwondo events scheduled for the next three months.
Yang was disqualified for violating the rules by wearing extra electronic sensors in her socks to score more points. She was leading her opponent 9-0 when she was disqualified, and a dumbfounded Yang refused to leave the competitive arena for an extended period of time despite requests from officials to do so.
Video replays of the match showed Yang had removed the two sensors before the bout began. Inconsistent explanations from taekwondo officials about Yang’s disqualification had raised questions about the legitimacy of the dismissal.
Yang, Liu, her other coach Liu Ching-wen (劉慶文) and Chinese Taipei Taekwondo Association president Chen Chien-ping (陳建平) flew to South Korea on Friday to attend the WTF’s disciplinary committee hearing on Saturday.
The committee, made up of Egyptian, Israeli and Turkish officials, reviewed the decision to disqualify Yang and her protest.
Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) said last night the council would discuss the matter with its lawyers to determine whether it would be possible to handle Yang’s case and that of her coach separately.
The committee had previously lodged a protest with the Olympic Council of Asia over Yang’s case and filed an appeal with the international Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY SHAN