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Before taking her own life, triathlete asked her mother to 'lay bare the sins' of her alleged abusers

July 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

An undated handout photo released on July 3, 2020 by the International Triathlon Union shows South Korean triathlete Choi Suk-hyeon competing at an undisclosed location. - A South Korean triathlete took her own life after enduring years of physical and verbal abuse from coaching staff and having her complaints to sporting authorities allegedly ignored, according to reports. (Photo by Handout / International Triathlon Union / AFP) / -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / International Triathlon Union" - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS - NO ARCHIVE (Photo by HANDOUT/International Triathlon Union/AFP via Getty Images)

He's a typically proud father as he recalls the joy of his daughter winning a medal.

After the death of 22-year-old Choi Suk-hyeon, ​her teammates came forward with horrifying ​allegations ​about what they say is their triathlon team's physically and emotionally abusive training practices.

"The best memory for us (parents of athletes) is to see that proud face of winning a medal after hard training," Choi's father tells CNN.

On July 1, the Korean Sports and Olympic Committee (KSOC) said it received a report from Choi ​on April 8 ​alleging that she had been abused by her coaching staff, while Choi's father tells CNN he verbally filed a complaint to Gyeongju City Hall on February 6.

Following that verbal complaint, Gyeongju City Hall Sports Association launched an investigation and interviewed Choi teammates over the phone.

During a ​July 5 press conference held at the National Assembly, two of Choi's former teammates ​​said the 22-year-old athlete, who finished 14th at last year's Triathlon National Championships in Korea, suffered physical and psychological abuse while training with the Gyeongju City ​Hall team.

"[The] triathlon team was a kingdom for the coach and certain athletes, while habitual physical and verbal abuse were considered natural in secret behind closed doors," said the teammate.

One of Choi's teammates ​speaking at the National Assembly press conference said from firsthand experience that Jang ​had abused members of the team.

Jang also denied the allegations at the emergency meeting held by the National Assembly's sports subcommittee, adding: "It (Choi's death) hurts me as an athlete myself, but I've sincerely cooperated in the investigation. " She has also been banned ​from the sport for life by the Korea Triathlon Federation (KTF).

Senior athlete Kim, who has been banned for 10 years, denied allegations of physical abuse: "There's nothing for me to apologize for," he said.

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