Korea opens up to foreign marathoners

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Korea opens up to foreign marathoners

Oh Dong-jin, the chairman of the Korea Association of Athletic Federations (KAAF), said yesterday that he is open to awarding foreign-born marathon runners Korean citizenship to help revitalize the sport here.

“I’ve had extensive discussions with experts in the field on how to revive our marathoning,” Oh said. “To help improve our national record, giving South Korean citizenship to foreign-born athletes is considered an option.”

Oh first became the KAAF chairman in 2009, and the former Samsung Electronics executive is largely expected to be re-elected to his second term on Jan. 30.

During his first term, Korean athletics fizzled at a handful of major international events, including at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in the Korean city of Daegu, where the host country failed to grab any medal.

Korea once thrived in marathon and produced Olympic champion Hwang Young-cho in 1992 and Olympic silver medalist Lee Bong-ju in 1996. Since the turn of the millennium, however, younger runners have not been able to match the feats of their predecessors. Yonhap
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