Judo bigwig enters Olympic Council race

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Judo bigwig enters Olympic Council race

The election to choose the next head of the Korean Olympic Council, Korea’s most influential governing body in sports, is likely to be a two-way race.

Kim Jung-haeng, who served six terms as the president of the Korea Judo Association, said yesterday that he will run for the post, throwing his hat in the ring with Lee Erisa, a lawmaker with the ruling Saenuri Party who announced her candidacy on Jan. 31.

Kim, 69, is also the president of Yong In University, a Gyeonggi college with the one of the nation’s strongest judo training programs. He is a close aide to the incumbent KOC president, Park Yong-sung, 72, who said on Monday that he won’t seek another four-year term.

Kim said he stepped down as KJA head on Tuesday to run for head of the KOC. There is no regulation that keeps him from running for KOC president while retaining the KJA job, but Kim said he wants to focus on the KOC election.

Park Sang-ha, the president of the International Soft Tennis Federation, had been considered a strong candidate for the KOC position, but yesterday he said he won’t run for the post via aides, who cited health concerns as the reason. Park, 68, has reportedly been suffering from significant deterioration in his health recently to the point of requiring an operation, but details are sketchy.

Registration for KOC candidacy is between Monday and today. The election will be held on Feb. 22.

By Moon Gwang-lip
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