JAKARTA: A South Korean swimmer was assaulted by a Chinese athlete following an altercation at the Asian Games, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.
The incident happened after Kim Hye-jin accidentally struck the Chinese swimmer’s face while training at Jakarta’s Aquatic Center, Yonhap said, citing the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC).
The Chinese swimmer, who was not named, kicked Kim and the pair had to be separated by athletes and coaches, the report said.
“Two swimmers had a quarrel after they had physical contact,” a KSOC official was quoted as saying. “Kim apologised first, but apparently the Chinese athlete couldn’t understand what she said and assaulted her.”
Chinese staff apologised to their South Korean counterparts for the incident at the scene and again later in the athletes’ village, according to the KSOC.
A KSOC spokeswoman later played down the incident.
“It’s something that happens frequently between swimmers during training and the Chinese player’s coach has apologised,” the spokeswoman told AFP.
Kim, 24, placed fifth in the women’s 100 metre breaststroke final in Jakarta on Sunday.
Asian Games organisers said they were unaware of the incident when approached by AFP. The Chinese Olympic Committee were not immediately available for comment.