With the Beijing Summer Olympics just around the corner, South Korea picked the worst time to have a drug problem.
Shin Hae-in, considered among the country's top female swimmers, was slapped with a two-year ban from the Korea Swimming Federation, after she tested positive for testosterone at October's National Sports Festival in Gwangju.
The 18-year-old had claimed a gold in Gwangju by setting a new national record of 59.64 seconds in the women's 100-meter butterfly.
However, Shin was found to have excessive levels of testosterone, an anabolic steroid, according to tests conducted by the Korean Anti-Doping Agency (KADA), and will be stripped of her record and title.
KADA, which tested 328 athletes who participated in the National Sports Festival, also issued warnings for Lee Ki-san, a male weightlifter who tested positive for methylephedrine, a banned stimulant, and Kim Min-ji, a female weightlifter who tested positive for triamcinolone.
Under Korean anti-doping rules, athletes tested positive for specified substances, which are included in the World Anti-Doping Agency's prohibited list but are susceptible to unintentional violations due to their general availability for medical purposes, receive warnings and a max one-year ban for a first-time offense. The violations of Lee and Kim fall under this category, KADA said.
However, the rules are tougher for performance enhancers, such as anabolic steroids, with a first-time offense requiring a two-year ban and a permanent ban following a second positive test.
Shin blamed her positive test on oriental medicine she took before the Gwangju competition to treat her shoulder pains, according to the swimming federation, which did not identify the substance.