Park Tae-hwan, left, has been named an honorary ambassador of the 2019 FINA World Championships ©Gwangju 2019

Convicted drugs cheat Park Tae-hwan has been named an honorary ambassador of the 2019 International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships in Gwangju.

The decision to appoint him to the role has raised serious questions after he was banned in 2014 following a positive drugs test for the anabolic steroid testosterone and he served an 18-month suspension.

Park, who remains the only swimmer from his nation to have ever won an Olympic medal, has always denied wrongdoing and launched an appeal against the ban.

He won an Olympic 400 metres freestyle gold medal at Beijing 2008.

Under the rules of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee, Park's drugs conviction meant he was unable to compete in the Olympic Games for the country. 

Park appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport who upheld his appeal against the ruling, leaving the 27-year-old free to compete at Rio 2016.

He failed, however, to make it out of the heats in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events.

Seoul Central District Court of final appeal found the doctor who injected Park with the steroid Nebido guilty of breaching medical code for failing to log into her patient's records, but cleared them of the more serious charge of causing Park bodily harm. 

The doctor was fined $10,000 (£7,500/€8,000) for the incident.

Park Tae-hwan tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone in 2014 ©Getty Images
Park Tae-hwan tested positive for anabolic steroid testosterone in 2014 ©Getty Images

Park also blamed the difficulties in the build-up to Rio 2016 for his poor performances, accusing the country’s former Sports Minister Kim Chong of trying to blackmail him to ensure he did not compete.

Park's allegations remain unproven.

At this year's FINA World Championships, held in Hungarian capital Budapest in July, Park narrowly missed out on medals as he finished fourth in the 400m, eighth in the 200m and ninth in the 1,500m freestyle events.

"It's a privilege to be an honorary ambassador for the world championships held in my home country," Park said, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

"I'll try to ensure the success of this competition."

An Se-hyeon has also been given an honorary ambassador role.

She made history in Budapest last month as she made the finals of the 100m and 200m butterfly events.

Her fourth-place finish in the 200m was the best finish by a South Korean woman at a major international competition while she also broke three national records.

insidethegames has contacted FINA for comment.