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SBD Global/August 13, 2012/Olympics

South Korean Football Players Celebrate Military Exemption After Winning Bronze Medal

South Korea's men's football players won Bronze Medals, "but many admitted they were also celebrating a greater prize: the chance to skip military service," according to the AP. Medal winners in South Korea are exempted from the 21 months of duty their fellow countrymen must do before they are 29." Striker Park Chu-young said, "I'm very happy to win the Bronze Medal, and everybody here will now get a new chance by being exempted from military service." Championship Cardiff player Kim Bok-yung said being able to skip military service makes him "as happy as winning the Bronze Medal." He added: "This is one of the happiest moments in my life. It is a big problem for Korean players, but now I have avoided it. I will have no problem staying in Europe" (AP, 8/12). YONHAP reported that midfielder Park Jong-woo "missed the ceremony to pick up his Bronze Medal." Earlier, the Korean Olympic Committee said that it was told by the IOC to "bar Park from collecting his medal." In celebrating South Korea's 2-0 win over Japan to clinch the Bronze, Park carried a sign that read, "Dokdo Is Our Territory," referring to South Korea's easternmost islets that Japan has "long claimed as its own" (YONHAP, 8/12).

YONHAP reported that Korean Olympic Committee President Park Yong-sung has "vowed to investigate badminton and fencing officials for their roles in off-field controversies." Park said that he will "look to hold badminton coaches responsible for the match-throwing scandal" that saw four South Korean females doubles players disqualified from the London Games. Park also held the Korean Fencing Federation "responsible for its poor handling of a high-profile judging dispute involving epee fencer Shin A-Iam (YONHAP, 8/12).
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