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Public Angered by Fencing Suspension

Posted January. 09, 2006 03:16,   


The Korean Fencing Association being criticized by the public after it suspended 25-year-old fencer Nam Hyun-hee‘s (Seoul City Hall) fencing license for two years for upsetting the national team’s training schedule by undergoing plastic surgery.

Public criticism on the association’s heavy-handedness has grown.

Following the fencing association’s January 6 decision to suspend Nam, the bulletin board of the association’s website was bombarded with 500 or more messages from people demanding the fencing authority temper its punishment.

Nam Hyun-hee was the most frequently searched-for keyword in Naver knowledge search on January 8, surpassing Park Ji-sung.

The Korean Fencing Association, scheduled to discuss disciplinary measure for Nam’s coach Cho Jeong-hyeok, is perplexed over the unexpected public reaction to its decision to suspend Nam.

Fencing officials remarked that they did not know this would cause this much uproar, and declined phone interviews.

Nam said, “A two-year suspicion is same as a retirement order. I don’t think I’ve done something so bad that I deserve this. I started fencing when I was in junior high school and I’ve dreamed of winning the gold someday. It’s sad that I have to quit because of something like this.” She also added, “I had another incident with the association in 2003: I had a back problem and asked to be treated at home, but the association insisted that I be treated in the athletic village.”

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com