Shim Suk-hee's allegations of sexual abuse against her former coach have prompted criticism of the KSOC ©Getty Images

Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) President Lee Kee-heung has unveiled measures aimed at preventing sexual abuse in sport as a backlash intensifies over the organisation's handling of cases.

Criticism of the organisation began after Olympic short track speed skating champion Shim Suk-hee filed a complaint against her former coach over an alleged sexual assault.

Shim accused former coach Cho Jae-beom of raping and sexually molesting her multiple times, beginning in 2014 when she was a high school student, according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency.

The claims were made in a complaint submitted to police last month.

"She has been repeatedly subjected to these crimes since she was a teenager and the depth of her traumatic wounds is beyond description," her lawyer Lim Sang-hyuk told SBS News.

Shim maintains that Cho's alleged sexual abuse continued until around two months before the opening of last year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeognchang in February.

Cho's lawyers have stated that he denies the allegations of sexual assault.

Cho was sentenced to 10 months in prison in September for physically assaulting four skaters, including Shim, over a seven-year period from 2011 to 2018.

KSOC President Lee offered an apology as he admitted there had been "major flaws" in the existing system designed to protect athletes in the country.

Despite pledging to introduce preventative measures criticism has increased.

Kim Young-joo, a politician from the Democratic Party, has claimed South Korean National Federations have been disciplined for 124 cases of assault and abuse over the past five years.

Former speed skating coach Yeo Jun-hyung, head of a group called Solidarity for Young Skaters, revealed they had received reports of six cases of sexual violence in the sport.

He has called for KSOC officials to resign as a result of the cases.

Lee offered another apology today in Seoul at a KSOC board meeting, according to Yonhap, before unveiling measures designed to protect athletes.

It was reported that the KSOC will invite independent experts to investigate sexual abuse cases with a pledge for full transparency.

A separate investigation into the Korea Skating Union is also expected to be carried out by the KSOC.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has claimed violence and pressuring athletes cannot be justified ©Getty Images
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has claimed violence and pressuring athletes cannot be justified ©Getty Images

The official claimed officials found to have attempted to cover up cases would be punished, with their federation facing the threat of suspension.

The introduction of a Human Rights Centre at the National Training Centre to protect athletes, which would include a female vice-head position, has also been suggested alongside a pledge for more female coaches.

Lee also pledged to change the existing practice of athletes and coaches sharing dormitories during training periods.

Allegations of abuse have garnered national attention in South Korea, with the country's President Moon Jae-in expressing concern.

The South Korean President asserted that violence or extreme pressure on athletes could not be justified.

"Athletes are supposed to play their sports to fulfil their own goals or improve their skills on their own," he said, according to Yonhap.

"They are supposed to enjoy their sports and have fun with it.

"I think violence or putting pressure on athletes cannot be justified under any circumstances.

"Not even Olympic medals justify athletes' sacrifices or suffering."