Former table tennis champ a candidate for KOC post

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Former table tennis champ a candidate for KOC post

Lee Erisa, 58, a former table tennis player now serving as a lawmaker with the ruling Saenuri Party, declared her candidacy for president of the Korean Olympic Committee yesterday.

No woman has been head of the country’s most influential sports governing body, and Lee said was inspired by President-elect Park Geun-hye.

“Electing a woman as the president (of Korea) means that we are living in a different era,” Lee told a group of reporters at a Seoul restaurant. “That’s why I mustered the courage (to run for KOC president).”

Lee won the world table tennis championship in Sarajevo in 1973.

She served as coach of the Korean national team before building a lengthy career in sports administration. She served as head of the National Training Center in Taeneung, Seoul, through the London Olympics.

She was elected as a Saenuri proportional representative last April. Lee said she has not discussed her KOC candidacy with Park.

“It’s like beating my head against the bare ground,” Lee said, adding that she may be little prepared for the post. “But I will go to people one after another and deliver my intention that I will work hard.”

Lee is expected to vie with at least two influential sports figures, including the incumbent KOC president, Park Yong-sung. Park, who is expected to run for another term, said yesterday he will announce his intention after International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, who is visiting for the 2013 Pyeongchang Special Olympics World Winter Games, leaves Korea.

Park Sang-ha, president of the International Soft Tennis Federation, is also known to be among those considering the KOC candidacy.

By Song Ji-hoon, Moon Gwang-lip []
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