Hackers attack World Taekwondo Federation site over Taiwan row

TAIPEI: Hackers attacked the website of the World Taekwondo Federation after it punished a Taiwanese fighter for allegedly cheating at the Asian Games, media reported Wednesday.

The hacking incident came after the federation, the sport’s world governing body, suspended Yang Shu-chun, a gold medal hopeful who was disqualified at the games in southern China in November for using extra sensors in her socks.

“Still unfair,” hackers wrote on the federation’s website late Tuesday night, Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency said.

The Seoul-based world federation suspended Yang for three months and her coach for 20 months in a letter to the Chinese Taipei Amateur Taekwondo Association, as Taiwan’s taekwondo body is known, on Tuesday.

It also fined the association 50,000 US dollars for “negligence and wrongdoing” for its role in the controversy.

But the suspension will not affect Yang’s career as there are no major international competitions scheduled in next three months, the federation said.

“Considering Yang’s talent, proven performance and her long dedication to the sport of taekwondo, we wanted to protect the rights and interest of the athlete,” an unnamed official from the federation told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

The Taiwanese fighter will be eligible to compete at the world championships in South Korea’s southern city of Gyeongju in May next year and at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The federation said Yang was disciplined for use of illegal equipment, an allegation she denies. The federation also accused Yang and her coach of interfering with competition management by holding a sit-in protest at the venue.

Chen Chien-ping, the head of the Taiwanese association, said the suspension and fine amounted to worse punishment than they had expected.

Apparently dismayed at the result, President Ma Ying-jeou ordered “responsible government units to do every possible legal steps to make sure Yang be treated fairly and reasonably,” his spokesman Lo Chih-chiang said.

Officials at Taiwan’s Sports Affairs Council said they would press for an appeal for Yang at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Yang’s Asian Games bout was stopped and she was disqualified while leading 9-0 in the first round, as her socks, with detachable electronic sensors, were ruled illegal.

Fighters are required to wear socks with built-in sensors which help the electronic system score points when they hit other sensors on their opponent.

The row escalated when the Asian Taekwondo Union (ATU) website carried a statement condemning the athlete for a “shocking act of deception” even though an official inquiry was pending.

Taiwan’s government demanded an apology for the statement and the disqualification, claiming it was unjust.

The ATU later removed the article from the website and its officials said they “feel sorry and apologise,” according to local media.

The event set off a wave of anti-Korean ire in Taiwan, and hackers attacked the Asian Taekwondo Union’s website.

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