From Cricket to Bobsleighing, Korea Fair Play Awards Cover Full Range of Sports

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A coach who founded Korea’s first women’s cricket team, a school football team with a zero record for fouls, and a sportsman who ignored a violent in-match assault were among the winners of the 2016 Korea Fair Play Awards on March 17, 2016.

The award ceremony and a related forum took place at the International Conference Hall of the Korean Press Center in downtown Seoul, Korea.

The Coach Award went to Nasirkhan, a Pakistani by birth who became a naturalized Korean citizen 20 years ago. He founded the first Korean women’s cricket team, and has contributed to the development of Korean cricket – a minority sport in every way in the country – for two decades.

The Team Award was won by the Sangnam Elementary School Football Team, which had previously received the 2015 Daekyo Noonnoppi Fair Play Awards (given to the team with the lowest record of fouls and misconduct — the team had a zero record of fouls or misconduct). The team also received two green cards – the card given at the end of every match to the team that showed fair play.

The Male Award went to Sang-min Sim, a member of the Korean National U-22 Football Team. During a 2015 King’s Cup match in Bangkok, Thailand in February, Uzbekistan’s Tohirjon Shamshitdinov punched Sim three times in the face. Despite the assault, Sim remained calm, showing an impressive fair play spirit.

The Female Award was won by Mira Park of the Korean National Women’s Handball Team, from Samcheock City. In addition to achieving good results in international competitions, Park has contributed to the development of handball in Korea.

The Special Award was granted to the Korean National Bobsleigh Team, which achieved outstanding results in global competition despite a poor environment for training and a lack of resources. Bobsleigh duo Yun-jong Won and Young-woo Seo earned gold medals at the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup in Whistler, Canada in January 2016.

The year’s awardees were chosen by the selection committee formed of senior journalists of the Korean Sports Press Union. Hyoun-jin Park, the union’s secretary general, briefed attendees on the selection process before the winners were introduced.

Prior to the awards, a forum had taken place.

“Through the sports they practice in their early years, youth learn the fair play spirit and learn to follow rules,” said Korean Fair Play Committee Chairman Chungwon Choue in welcoming remarks. “This helps them become valuable citizens of their countries and in wider global society.”

In congratulatory remarks, Korean Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chong Kim thanked the organizers for the “wonderful event” and noted that the Korean government would, from this year, implement doping tests in all national-level professional sports.

“For me, fair play is not only about following the rules of the sports we participate in,” said Mr. Zaiqing Yu, vice president of the International Olympic Committee and vice president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, in his keynote speech. “Fair Play is about integrity, fairness and respect …sport should be universally equal; it is the only area of human existence with a truly universal law based on global ethics, fair play, respect and friendship.”

The forum main event was a special lecture delivered by renowned mountaineer Hong –gil Um, executive director of the Um Hong Gil Human Foundation, on “Challenge and Conquest.” Gil was also made a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the “Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation.”

The forum wrapped up with a performing trio.

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