N. Korean IOC member says he'll attend 2018 Winter Games: Yonhap

Park Sae-jin Reporter() | Posted : August 4, 2016, 08:15 | Updated : August 4, 2016, 08:15

[Yonhap News Photo]

Chang Ung, the lone North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee, said he'll attend the 2018 Winter Games held in South Korea.

Chang is in Rio de Janeiro for the 129th IOC Session. Asked by Yonhap News Agency whether he'd visit South Korean host city PyeongChang for the next Winter Games, Chang replied, "I'll go." "It will be my last Olympics as an IOC member," added Chang, who has been an IOC member since 1996 and will reach the retirement age of 80 in 2018.

During the IOC Session, PyeongChang's organizing committee gave a presentation, vowing "seamless preparation" for the first Winter Games in South Korea.

Chang said there seem to be concerns within the IOC about the frequent leadership change. The committee is already onto its third president since 2012, with Kim Jin-sun succeeded by Cho Yang-ho in 2014 and then Lee Hee-beom in May this year.

Chang also said it's a shame South Korea doesn't have an IOC member present in Rio. Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, also elected to the IOC in 1996, has been bedridden for two years, while former Olympic taekwondo champion Moon Dae-sung has been suspended over plagiarism in his doctoral dissertation.

Moon's term ends after the Rio Games. Ryu Seung-min, the 2004 Olympic table tennis gold medalist, is running for a seat on the IOC's Athletes Commission this year.

"It's disappointing but someone new will step up," Chang said. "If Cho Yang-ho had stayed with PyeongChang, he may have had a chance." Chang added Choue Chung-won, South Korean president of the World Taekwondo Federation, may also have a shot as the leader of an international sports federation recognized by the IOC.

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