SEOUL, Nov. 9 (UPI) — South Korean women curlers claimed that they have been mistreated by their coaches and never received their share of prize money.
The five athletes, who rose to fame after winning silver at the Winter Olympic Games in February, said they never received some $53,000 prize money, accumulated from winning international competitions since 2015, in a media interview on Thursday.
The athletes also said a former chairman of the Korea Curling Federation often insulted them with verbal abuse. One of their coaches made them show up at an event at a primary school where her son attends, according to SBS.
The South Korean women’s curling team was at the center of the sports frenzy earlier this year as they won the first silver medal in curling at Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February. South Korea never had a notable result in curling at international sports events before.
Jang Ban-seok, one of the coaches, refuted their claims in an email to reporters on Friday.
Jang said the athletes agreed to use part of the prize money to support their training and participation in international competitions.
“We needed money for the team because there were many times we didn’t receive fund from the national and regional sports committee,” Jang said.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Friday it will investigate the curling coaches and former curling federation chief with the Korean Sports and Olympic Committee to assess the athletes’ claims.