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(LEAD) Retired table tennis star booked on drunk driving charges

2014/10/01 16:26

SEONGNAM, South Korea, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- A retired South Korean table tennis star resigned Wednesday as the chief of the athletes' village for the upcoming Asian Games for the disabled after causing a traffic accident while driving under the influence, police said.

Hyun Jeong-hwa, 44, is one of the country's best-known retired athletes. She won the gold medal in the women's doubles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and attended the opening ceremony of the ongoing 2014 Incheon Asian Games as a member of a flag-bearing squad composed of retired athletes.

The pre-dawn accident took place at about 12:50 a.m. when Hyun hit a taxi at an intersection in Seongnam, a satellite city of Seoul, the Bundang Police Station said.

One male passenger in the taxi was injured and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, the police said.

Hyun had a blood alcohol level of 0.201 percent, well over the legal limit, police said.

According to police investigators, Hyun, who currently works as the coach of the Korea Racing Authority's table tennis team, said she didn't remember with whom or where she had been drinking.

"We allowed her to return home because she was very drunk. We'll set the schedule for questioning her later," a police officer in charge of the case said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Hours after her release, Hyun offered to resign as the chief of the athletes' village for the upcoming Incheon Asian Para Games, and the organizing committee accepted her resignation immediately, according to committee officials.

"I had wanted to fulfill my duty at the Asian Para Games. I am sorry for causing trouble," she was quoted by one committee official as saying.

It is yet to be decided who will replace the disgraced coach, the organizers said, adding they will name a replacement "as soon as possible."

   The continental multisport event for athletes with disabilities is slated for Oct. 18-24 in South Korea's western port city of Incheon, which is expected to bring thousands of participants from some 40 countries in Asia.

Hyun Jeong-hwa. (Yonhap file photo) Hyun Jeong-hwa. (Yonhap file photo)