Son wins top award for female athletes
The 2014 Korea Women’s Sports Award (KWSA) announced this year’s winners on Thursday, with the top prize - the Yungok Women’s Sports Award - going to rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae.
The Women’s Sports Coach Award went to handball coach Lim O-kyeong of Seoul City Hall, and table tennis player Yang Ha-eun, 20, was named Rookie of the Year.
The Korea Women’s Sports Award was established last year, succeeding the Yungok Women’s Sports Award founded in 1988 by former International Olympics Committee Vice Chairman Kim Un-yong. The goal is to recognize the country’s female athletes and support promising athletes in less popular sports.
The awards ceremony is scheduled for Monday.
The KWSA selection committee chose Son for her individual gold and team silver medals at the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon. She also won medals in 11 consecutive international competitions this year, starting with the International Federation of Gymnastics World Cup in Lisbon in April.
The selection committee added that Son has successfully promoted rhythmic gymnastics, which traditionally has been a less popular sport.
Lim, who won the Women’s Sports Coach Award, was in the movie “Forever the Moment” (2008) about the national female handball winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Lim also was on the national team that won gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
The selection committee saw her as a model for female athletes.
Despite losing in the semifinals at the 2012 London Olympic Games, rookie Yang is seen as having the potential to become the latest in a line of table tennis legends that include Jeong Hyeon-suk, Lee Ailesa and Hyun Jung-hwa.
The KWSA also recognized promising teenage athletes: judo player Go Ga-yeong, 12; swimmer Lee Geun-a, 12; and long jumper Jeong Seo-hee, 14.
Go won two national judo competitions this year.
Lee is considered unrivaled in the elementary school division of swimming, winning the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle races, and the 200-meter medley relay and 400-meter relay at the National Junior Sports Festival in May. Jeong won her second consecutive gold medal at the junior sports festival.
The Disabled Athlete Award went to Lee Do-yeon, 42, who won two gold medals at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon.
BY YOON TAE-SUK [firstname.lastname@example.org]