By Liam Morgan

South Korea's Park Tae-Hwan could face a ban from swimming after testing positive for testosterone ©Getty ImagesSouth Korean Olympic gold medallist Park Tae-Hwan is facing an international doping hearing after he tested positive for a banned substance, the Korea Swimming Federation (KSF) have announced.

Park's agency Team GMP claimed the swimmer had unintentionally doped, saying that the positive test was because of an injection given to the 25-year-old by a doctor at a local hospital when reports surfaced on Monday (January 26).

It has now emerged that Park, who became South Korea's first-ever Olympic swimming champion by winning the 400 metre title in Beijing in 2008, tested positive for Nebido, more commonly known as injectable testosterone, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as it strengthens muscles.

The KSF have also said their star swimmer, nicknamed "Marine Boy", failed a test administered by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), rather than WADA.

"FINA told us of Park's positive test at the end of October last year," a KSF official said.

"I understand FINA also directly informed the athlete as well.

"Because of FINA's regulations on confidentiality on doping tests until the penalties are determined after a hearing, we couldn't make any announcement [until a report emerged Monday]."

Officials from the hospital have reportedly testified that they gave the swimmer, who claimed double silver at London 2012, the injection but they were unaware that testosterone is banned.

Park Tae-Hwan became South Korea's first-ever Olympic swimming gold medallist when he took the 400 metres freestyle title at Beijing 2008 but now faces a drugs ban ©Getty ImagesPark Tae-Hwan became South Korea's first-ever Olympic swimming gold medallist when he took the 400 metres freestyle title at Beijing 2008 but now faces a drugs ban ©Getty Images



According to South Korean News Agency Yonhap, Park questioned the doctor several times about what the injection contained, and was given assurances that the shot was clean.

Despite the fact that the swimmer allegedly did not know the shot contained the prohibited substance, he may still ultimately be held responsible under WADA's Anti-Doping code.

Although Park tested negative during the Asian Games in Incheon last year, where he competed in a pool named after him as he claimed a silver medal and five bronze medals, WADA reportedly collected the sample a month after he received the testosterone shot, meaning traces of the substance may still have been in his body.

This could result in the swimmer being stripped of his medals and could put his participation at the Rio 2016 Olympics in jeopardy.

"A world-class swimmer like Park is tested frequently out of competition," a WADA official said.

"The severity of his penalty will be determined after his hearing."

Park's hearing is due to take place next month, FINA executive director Cornel Marculescu told French news agency Agence France-Presse

Team GMP are still set to take legal action against the hospital where Park was given the shot, while prosecutors may indict the doctor on grounds of professional negligence.

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