Viktor An has been welcomed back to short track in Russia ©Getty Images

Russian Skating Union President Nikolay Gulyayev has extended an invitation for South Korean-born Russian short track speed skater Viktor An to come back to his adopted nation, after being publicly rejected from a skating coaching role in Seongnam.

An and former national team coach Kim Sun-tae applied to the low-profile coaching position in the city.

The six-time Olympic gold medallist's application attracted public interest, having left the South Korean set-up after a fall out with the Korean Skating Federation to join the Russian national team, where he won three more gold medals for his new country at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, eight years after winning three for his birth nation at Turin 2006.

Seongnam announced An and Kim had failed to make the shortlist for the position, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

An had been part of China's coaching team for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, studying under Kim who was the head coach.

Viktor An formerly competed for South Korea ©Getty Images
Viktor An formerly competed for South Korea ©Getty Images

Three-time Olympic champion Choi Min-jeong and five of their team-mates released a joint statement on social media asking for a "fair and transparent" process.

"We believe the process must not be swayed by any outside influence," they said.

"We must bring in the most competent candidate who can communicate with us."

Choi clarified the statement was not in support of An in particular.

A Seongnam official explained the recruitment process and why the Olympic gold medallist was omitted.

"When we reviewed candidates' resumes and went over their interviews, we also considered the prevailing sentiment in the speed skating community and media coverage of the situation," said the official to Yonhap.

However, Gulyayev made it clear An would be welcome back, having left Russia due to his wife being homesick.

An won three gold medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for Russia ©Getty Images
An won three gold medals at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for Russia ©Getty Images

"Everyone knows the reasons for Viktor's departure from our country, he is a Russian citizen and was in favour of continuing to live and work with us," he told Russia's official state news agency TASS.

"But his wife was categorically in favour of returning back to South Korea. 

"We are with him, we will definitely get in touch, and I will send him a certain message.

"So far there have been no talks and negotiations on the subject of his return. 

"I monitored the situation with his participation in that competition, and, knowing the attitude of the local sports community and the association of coaches towards him, I assumed that the result would be just like that."

An received Russian citizenship in 2011, the same year he stopped competing for the South Korean national team and changed his name from Ahn Hyun-Soo.

He won three golds and one bronze at Sochi 2014, but missed Pyeongchang 2018 due to the suspension of athletes from Russia at the Games.

An had aimed to make a comeback after his retirement and compete at Beijing 2022, but ultimately called time on his career in 2020 due to persistent injuries.