Korean Olympic Committee set to elect new president
Published : 2013-02-20 20:00
Updated : 2013-02-20 20:00
A seasoned judo administrator and a former table-tennis standout will square off in the race for South Korea’s top sports post this week.
Kim Jung-haeng, a former head of the Korea Judo Association, and Lee Elisa, the 1973 world table-tennis champion, will vie to become the next president of the Korean Olympic Committee in the election this Friday.
The KOC delegates, including the heads of local governing bodies of sports, will cast their ballots with the majority rule in effect.
The winner will succeed Park Yong-sung, who had been the KOC chief since 2009 and had recently decided against a second term, citing health reasons.
Kim, one of three KOC vice presidents, is running for the third time, having come up short in 2002 and 2008.
This is the first crack at the KOC presidency for Lee.
The race is already ripe with historic implications. Since the KOC was founded in 1947, it has never had a female president. Lee, 58, is the first female to even run for the top KOC job.
Also, the KOC has never had a former national team athlete as its president. Kim Jong-yeol, who was the KOC chief from 1989 to 1993, had been a rugby player, but he had never represented the country internationally.
Kim Jung-haeng, 69, won a judo silver medal at the 1967 World University Games.
Lee was an 18-year-old sensation when South Korea won the team title at the 1973 World Table Tennis Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Kim and Lee have previously crossed paths in their post-athletic careers. Kim has been the president of Yong In University, a school well-known for its sports programs, since 1994, and Lee worked as a professor in the College of Sports Sciences at the same institution from 2000 to earlier this month.
To run for the KOC presidency, Lee resigned from her teaching job.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Kim was the chief of the South Korean athletic delegation.
Lee was the head of the National Training Center in Seoul, the nation’s largest training ground for Olympic athletes. (Yonhap News)