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Lim Hyo-jun may not compete in the Olympics for China

Posted March. 10, 2021 07:36,   

Updated March. 10, 2021 07:36


Former South Korean Olympic short track gold medalist Lim Hyo-jun (picture), who changed his nationality to compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, may be unable to represent China in the Olympics due to International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules.

Under the Rule 41 of the Olympic Charter, a competitor who has changed his nationality may participate in the Olympic Games to represent his new country provided that at least three years have passed since the competitor last represented his former country. Lim represented South Korea in the 2018-19 ISU World Short Track Championships on March 10, 2019. The Beijing Olympics are slated for Feb. 4 to Feb. 20 of next year. It will make Lim ineligible by a month if the Beijing Olympics are held as scheduled.

The rule, however, becomes null and void if the National Olympic Committees of the two countries agree to allow the competitor to compete in the Olympics representing his new country even before three years have passed. In Korea, the Korean Sports & Olympic Committee serves as the National Olympic Committee. “It is not the time to make our official statement on the matter since China’s nationals have not taken place yet,” said an official at the committee. “But it will be difficult to allow (Lim’s participation in the Olympics) considering its impact on the Korean national team and the social sentiment.”

But not all roads are blocked for Lim since the IOC used to approve the change of nationality just before the opening of Olympics.

The 24-year-old was banned from competitions for one year after allegedly sexually harassing his male teammate in 2019. After being suspended from representing Korea, the world’s top short track speed skater applied for Chinese citizenship at the end of last year.

Kyu-In Hwang kini@donga.com