South Koreans apologise after coach sent home

Updated: Friday, 27 Jul 2012 11:11

The South Korea Sailing Federation has apologised on behalf of coach Lee Jae-cheol after he was sent home from the London Olympics for drink driving.

It said Lee was pulled over by police after attending a banquet hosted by the mayor of the south coast town of Weymouth which is hosting the sailing regatta.

"Coach Lee Jae-cheol attended a banquet and drank wine and beer on July 25," a statement from the federation said.

"It is true that Lee, who can't drink well, was caught drunk driving by the police when he was returning alone to the athletes' village at 5am for training after sleeping for some time to get sober at the federation's own place outside the village.

"The Korea Olympic Committee convened its reward and punishment committee there and decided to send Lee home as an exemplary punishment.

"It is really a matter for regret. Although we will thoroughly grasp the issue and take action after finding out what was wrong, we think Lee is under enormous amount of psychological pressure.

"Our federation will try hard to prevent a weakening of athletes' morale and try to turn the misfortune to our advantage and do our best to realise our dream to win medals in sailing."

Kim Joon-nyun, secretary general of the sailing federation, said Lee had been fined 250 pounds and was "on the way home."

He is the second athlete or official to be sanctioned for disciplinary reasons after Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou was withdrawn before she arrived in London for a tweet on Africans in Greece that was criticised as being racist.

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