By Park Ju-min
SEOUL, June 27 (Reuters) – South Korea's hopes of badminton gold at the Beijing Olympics suffered a blow on Friday when the head coach of the national badminton team was suspended amid a police investigation into allegations of embezzlement.
The Korean Badminton Association said it had suspended head coach Kim Jung-soo, who is being investigated on allegations of misappropriation of public funds at a regional badminton organisation where he is an executive.
"We are worried about a coaching vacuum with only about 40 days left before the the Beijing Olympics," a spokesman for the association said by telephone.
"But at the moment we don't have any plan to choose someone to replace Kim."
The spokesman added that regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Kim might need to be kept on the sidelines due to the public outcry from the incident.
Badminton's image has been tarnished by recent negative publicity, including the sacking of the governing body's deputy president and Malaysian probe into match-fixing allegations.
(Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Alastair Himmer)