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Furious SH Corporation’s Marathoners

Posted December. 09, 2004 22:34,   


Seoul Housing Corporation’s women’s marathon team is on the verge of breaking up. The SH female marathon team has a reputation for top female runners.

Recently, SH corporation fired its coach, Choi Seon-geun, who directed the marathon team since the establishment of the team in 1996. It is reported that the corporation dismissed the coach for “poor supervision over players.” In October, some members of the team, including Jeong Yoon-hee (21), left the SH marathon team in protest of low compensation and poor assistance from the corporation. The coach is said to have failed to persuade them not to leave.

In addition, two senior members of the team, Yoon Seon-sook (32) and Bae Hae-jin (25) and Kim Eun-jeong, a junior member, also demanded transfer. They complained, saying, “The coach alone is not responsible. We even have to prepare meals on our own after running 30km a day which is extremely exhausting.” SH’s marathon team consists of four marathoners and now, all four runners have declared their departure.

SH responded, saying, “We offered the best we could afford, but they weren’t satisfied. If they want to take advantage of their fame, public companies can’t manage sports teams.” They say they will stick to the position that a transfer is not allowed at this time.

On the other hand, SH gave its transfer permission to Yoon Seon-sook on December 9, pretending to be generous. In fact, Yoon is about to retire. This means that the corporation plans to retain the young and best members against their will. Jeong Yoon-hee placed in the third place among Korean marathon runners in terms of her record of 2:30:50 for a full course, and Bae Hae-jin in first place with 1:12:13 for a half-marathon course among Korean runners. Kim Eun-jeong is another player upon whom the SH authorities do not want to give up its grip.

Since its creation in 1996, Yoon Seon-sook swept eight games such as the Dong-a Marathon and tearfully said, “Great runners on the team are not able to fully show their athletic ability because of the poor management of their team.”

Even talented players cannot fully develop their potential unless state-run SH Corporation breaks itself away from outdated supervision over its marathon team. It is also frustrating that the Korea Athletics Federation turns a “blind eye” to the women’s marathon team’s miserable situation.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com