Short track-S.Korea's Kwak questions fairness of refereeing after China gold

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BEIJING, Feb 7 (Reuters) - South Korean short track speed skater Kwak Yoon-gy has questioned the fairness of the refereeing at the Beijing Olympics after China claimed the gold medal in the mixed team relay in chaotic circumstances.

Kwak alleged that refereeing was biased after China got through their semi-final in the mixed team relay on Saturday only after the United States and Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) teams were disqualified for blocking and obstruction.

South Korea, who were among the favourites, were eliminated in a separate race and China went on to triumph in the final to claim the host nation's first gold medal of the Games.

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"Looking at the way China won the gold medal, I felt bad that my younger team mates had to watch something like that," Kwak said in comments carried by the Yonhap news agency.

"I thought to myself, 'Is this really what winning a gold medal is all about?'. Things all just felt very hollow."

There was no immediate response to a request for comment over the refereeing from the International Skating Union (ISU).

Kwak, speaking to reporters, said the consensus on the sidelines was that China would also be disqualified along with the Americans and Russians.

"I was watching that race unfold. I figured China, ROC and the U.S. would get penalised. The Dutch skaters who were watching it with me said the same thing," he added.

"But as the review dragged on, I figured China was going to be allowed to progress. And when the call was finally made, I found it difficult to accept it."

"If it had been any other country than China in that situation, I wondered if that team would still have been allowed to reach the final like that?"

Head coach of the U.S. team Stephen Gough told Reuters: "I don't share that point of view, that China should've also been penalised."

Kwak said he was left with a feeling of injustice after the incidents.

"I felt that could have been us at the wrong end of all this," Kwak said. "I thought about how upsetting and frustrating it would have been if we'd been a part of that."

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Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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