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S. Korea trying to naturalize German luger for Winter Games

All News 19:06 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top sports body said on Wednesday it will ask the government to grant a German-born luger Korean citizenship and give her an opportunity to represent her adopted home at a future Winter Olympics here.

The Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) said it will recommend Aileen Frisch to the Ministry of Justice for special naturalization after having a meeting at its headquarters in Seoul. The KOC said that Frisch is a "qualified athlete" who received elite training in the world-strongest luge nation Germany.

Frisch won gold medals at the World and European Junior Championships as well as the overall Junior World Cup in 2012. The 23-year-old announced her retirement after she failed to join the German national team last year, but the Korea Luge Federation reportedly approached to her through Sartor Steffen, a German coach of the South Korean luge team, and asked her to race for South Korea.

The KOC said that the addition of Frisch will improve South Korea's chance of winning a medal in the sled sport at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, some 180 kilometers east of Seoul.

"In her 15 years of luge career, she has shown stable performances in almost all tracks in the world," the KOC said in a release. "If she joins the national team, South Korea can not only expect a medal in women's singles, but also can expect good influence in team relay event which is composed of women's singles, men's singles and doubles."

Among the three sled sports -- bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge -- South Korea has not produced promising athletes in luge. In bobsleigh, the country saw Won Yun-jong and Seo young-woo ending their 2015-2016 International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) season as the world's No. 1 bobsleigh team, while skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin finishing as the world's No. 2, after winning one gold, three silver and two bronze medals from eight World Cup races.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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