Swimming: Hungarian swimmer Tamas Kenderesi arrested on harassment charge at world champs

Tamas Kenderesi was detained and questioned over an incident at a nightclub in Gwangju, South Korea.
Tamas Kenderesi was detained and questioned over an incident at a nightclub in Gwangju, South Korea.PHOTO: AFP

GWANGJU, SOUTH KOREA (AFP) - Hungarian swimmer Tamas Kenderesi, who has been competing at the world championships in South Korea, has been banned from leaving the country after being arrested for sexual harassment, police said on Sunday (July 28).

Local police are investigating allegations against the Rio Olympics bronze medallist, who was detained and questioned over an incident at a nightclub in Gwangju, some 330km south of Seoul, a police official told AFP.

The 22-year-old finished last in the 200 metres butterfly final on Wednesday.

Hungarian team officials and swimming’s governing body Fina confirmed that he had been released from custody and returned to the athletes’ village, but he would not be allowed to leave the country for the next 10 days. 

“The Hungarian swim federation, in cooperation with staff at the Hungarian embassy in Korea, is doing its best to clarify the allegations against Tamas Kenderesi,” Hungary’s swimming federation said in a statement. 

“During the investigation, the athlete is entitled to a presumption of innocence, but if formally found guilty the federation will seek further action. 

“The Hungarian swimming federation condemns any act that violates human dignity, and requires that members of the national swim team behave in a manner that is respectful of national colours and sports traditions.” 

Kenderesi, who was third in the 200m fly at the last Olympics and also the European silver medallist, has denied the allegation, according to local media. 

Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu told AFP: “For now he is free but he cannot travel out of Korea. We will see what the next step is.” 

Kenderesi’s arrest comes a day after an indoor balcony at a Gwangju nightclub collapsed, killing two local people and injuring several athletes competing at the world championships.