Korean coaches ‘stole tens of thousands’ from Olympic curling team

South Korea’s ‘Garlic Women’ gained curling silver finally yr’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics (AFP / WANG Zhao)

South Korea’s “Garlic Women” curling workforce have been exploited by their coaches who stole tens of hundreds of dollars of prize money from the Olympic medal-winners, the sports ministry stated Thursday.

The curlers, who come from a town famous for garlic farming, have been rank outsiders at South Korea’s Pyeongchang Games last yr, but turned a media sensation as they swept their solution to Olympic silver.

However final November they publicly accused their coaches of verbal abuse and intrusive control and claimed that they had not acquired their prize money from earlier competitions, prompting public outrage and a probe by the sports activities ministry.

The workforce claimed the coaches have been operating Korean curling like a household fiefdom: the husband of their head coach, Kim Min-jung, is a former nationwide men’s group coach, while her father Kim Kyung-doo is a former vice chairman of the Korean Curling Federation (KCF).

Following a five-week investigation, the sports activities ministry stated Thursday that the allegations made by the curlers have been “principally true”.

“It was confirmed that there was extreme control over privateness by the coaches… who strongly berated the athletes if they spoke with their earlier coaches or athletes from other teams,” the ministry stated, including that the coaches censored presents and fan letters.

The curlers weren’t paid correctly as the coaches had “mismanaged” around 94 million gained (US$83,500) of the group’s revenue, it stated.

Additionally they embezzled round 30 million gained, in accordance with the ministry.

The probe also discovered that the coaches had evaded taxes and hired unqualified relations to work on the nationwide workforce.

The ministry stated the case shall be taken to the police.

The curlers are also called “Staff Kim” for his or her shared surname, and use meals-based mostly nicknames for ease of identification: the captain is Annie — a model of yogurt — whereas Kim Yeong-mi is Pancake, Kim Kyeong-ae is Steak, Kim Seon-yeong is Sunny — as in “sunny aspect up” — and Kim Cho-hee is Chocho, a kind of cookie.

The group’s big-killing feats at the Olympics, regardless of limited funding, boosted the popularity of their little-recognized sport in South Korea.

But despite their Olympic silver they did not win the nationwide trials in August, ruling them out of international competition and sending them plummeting down the world rankings in consequence.