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No IOC members in Korea?

Posted April. 17, 2015 07:46,   


Asked about the chances of being a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the press conference two months ago, Cho Jeong-won, president of World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), said, “Chances are higher thanks to my position as a head of International Sports of Federation.” The response was quite unusual as he used to change the subject when asked about the same question before. The change of the response is based on the pride that the federation has contributed to international sports with taekwondo having been selected as an official event for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

The prospect, however, seems far off. “Earlier this month, a recommendation committee for IOC member candidate was held in the Britain but his name was not mentioned. It is quite embarrassing as expectation has been high,” said an official from the WFT.

A member of IOC is decided at the General Assembly after the candidates have been evaluated first at the recommendation committee followed by an executive committee. This means that the name of a candidate must be mentioned at the recommendation committee, which was not the case this time for President Cho. This year’s General Assembly is scheduled to be held on July 31 in Malaysia.

The IOC has 115 official members, out of which 70 memberships are not linked to any specific function or office, 15 or less holding an executive or senior leadership position within Ifs, 15 or less holding an executive or senior leadership position within NOCs, or continental associations of NOCs and 15 active athletes. Currently, there are 102 members, meaning that a maximum number of 13 members can be newly elected by theory.

In Korea, two individuals are holding IOC membership; Samsung’s Chairman Lee Kun-hee without any specific function or office, and lawmaker Moon Dae-sung of the ruling Saenuri Party as an active athlete. The problem is that bedridden Chairman Lee is not able to do his job and lawmaker Moon’s term (8 years for active athlete) will be over at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This would create a gaping hole in Korea’s sport diplomacy up for 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang.

The world of sports has mentioned Cho Yang-ho (aged 66), chairman of Hanjin Group along with President Cho Seung-won as likely candidates for the IOC. Chairman Cho has been nominated by Korean Olympic Committee while president Cho by the WTF. It was known that Chairman Cho , a head of organizing committee for the 2018 Pyongchang Winter was not mentioned at the recommendation committee, either. The retirement age of an IOC member who was elected after the year of 2000 is 70 and the term of up to five members in each session can be extended for another four years. It was expected that President Cho could finish his term until 2017 after which his term would be extended if he is elected this year. If he is elected next year, however, the remaining term would be only one year, meaning that his chance of being elected would be even slimmer.

“Early June, a briefing on selecting candidate city for 2020 Winter Olympics will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland. We have faint hope that president Cho’s name will be mentioned there as all the IOC members are gathered together,” said a KOC official.