LONDON -- South Korea filed a protest over defending champion Park Tae-hwan's disqualification in the 400-meter freestyle event Saturday on the opening day of the Olympic swimming competition.
Swimming governing body FINA told The Associated Press that Park was disqualified by a judge on the pool deck for a false start.
The protest first passed through FINA's technical swimming committee, which upheld the disqualification. South Korea took the protest to a jury of appeal, which will decide the case.
According to FINA rules, the jury of appeal includes all 22 members of the FINA Bureau, plus honorary members and the FINA president or vice president.
Park was first to touch the wall in his heat Saturday and appeared bewildered when told of the disqualification.
"I don't know why," Park said. "I need to speak to my coach to find out."
Sun Yang of China led the heats, while Ryan Cochrane of Canada took the last qualifying position in eighth. Cochrane could miss out on the final later Saturday if Park is reinstated.
FINA rules say a swimmer can be disqualified after the race for a false start.