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Co-leaders named for integrated sports body

All News 15:06 March 07, 2016

SEOUL, March 7 (Yonhap) -- Co-presidents were named for the integrated national sports body on Monday, another important step toward finalizing their merger later this month.

Kim Jung-haeng, president of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC), and Kang Young-joong, head of the Korea Council of Sport for All (KOCOSA), were appointed as co-heads of the tentatively named Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC). The decision was reached during the KSOC founders' meeting in Seoul.

The KOC, which oversees the country's sports in general and elite athletes for competitive events, and the KOCOSA, which aims to promote daily sports and a healthy lifestyle for every South Korean, have been working on a merger for months. The two sides had set a March 27 deadline. Then in a letter to the KOC dated Feb. 24, the IOC's Deputy Director General Pere Miro recommended that the merger be postponed until after the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games in August, so that the KOC can focus first on preparing South Korean athletes for the Olympics. Miro also invited the KOC and other parties involved to travel to Lausanne for a meeting with the IOC.

After its meeting with the South Korean officials last Friday, the IOC said all parties agreed on the principle of the merger and on the time frame for the process, clearing the way for Kim and Kang to go ahead with their plans.

The founders' meeting had been postponed twice -- it was to be held on Feb. 15 and then last Wednesday -- as some noted that the new statutes of the merged body must be approved by the IOC first before they're adopted at the General Assembly sometime in April.

The same point was raised during Monday's meeting, but it was eventually agreed that the statutes will be adopted for the time being and any changes recommended by the IOC will be made before the General Assembly.

Kim and Kang will serve as co-chairs until the new president is elected on Oct. 31. They both said they will strive for development in sports at all levels.

Ahn Yang-ok, head of the 11-member committee preparing for the merger, said the merger will break the barrier between elite and everyday sports, and will serve as "a major milestone" in South Korean sports.


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