A North Korean speed skater has been disqualified from an Olympic event after suspiciously crashing multiple times in an apparent attempt to disrupt the race.
Jong Kwang Bom, 17, fell twice during the heat phase of the men’s 500 meters short-track speed skating match, according to Yahoo News. In both instances, it was observed that Jong seemed to try to sabotage Japanese skater Ryosuke Sakazume.
How to do North Korea proud at #PyeongChang2018 try to take down a Japanese skater by any means necessary…. twice.
— Paul Johnson (@pjohnson_sports) February 20, 2018
In the first crash, which occurred just a couple of seconds into the race, Jong seemed to reach out and grab at Sakazume’s skate, a move considered to be a dirty tactic and poses an extreme danger to the other player.
Men’s 500m Heat7 Jong Kwang Bom, starts, falls all by himself, clearly tries to take out another skater, so how come restarts? #bbcolympics
— Iain Foster (@IainFoster4) February 20, 2018
The race was eventually restarted, but when he fell again the second time, he bumped into Sakazume before tumbling and crashing into the outside wall. While he failed to complete a lap, and obviously didn’t advance to the next round, judges officially disqualified him just the same.
Jong Kwang BOM of North Korea, falling after 5m and THEN trying to swipe your rival down with your hand. I see you. Behave. #PyecongChang2018
— Jack Perryman (@PerrymanJack) February 20, 2018
Sakazume would later downplay the incident, saying, “I believe it was unintentional. His hand happened to be by my skate as he fell down.”
American skater Thomas Hong was also caught in Jong’s crash and ended up falling behind the rest of the skaters.
“It did affect me because I was just too close,” Hong was quoted as saying by USA Today. “But unpredictability and short track just go hand-in-hand.”
It is could also be that Jong simply can’t compete at the Olympic level that his competitors are in, just like the rest of the North Korean athletes who have usually fared in last place in most of their competitions.
It should be noted that North Korea only came up with an Olympic roster a month ago, with just two of the 22 athletes, figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Kik, actually qualifying in pre-Games competitions.
Feature image via Youtube/Blagag!