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New chief of natl training center vows to foster athlete-centered culture

The new chief of the main national athletic training center on Monday vowed to change the culture for athletes, after a series of sexual assault scandals rocked South Korea's sports community.

Shin Chi-yong was officially introduced as the head of the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, the main training ground for South Korean national team athletes.

Shin, a legendary volleyball coach, said he will wipe out a malicious culture at the national training center.


"I will get rid of a culture that ignores and disrespects the athletes here," Shin said at a press conference. "I will actively communicate with coaches and athletes, and will make a training center that makes people proud."

South Korea's sports community has been dealing with sexual assault scandals, with some athletes claiming that the incident happened at the national training center. Shin said he will not tolerate any misconduct there.

"I want to change the culture at the training center, so that the athletes here can enjoy training and stay here happily," he said. "I've spent more than 13 years at the Taereung National Training Center in Seoul, and I think that education programs for coaches are important."

Shin, who guided South Korea to the gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, said he is trying to find ways to encourage athletes and coaches who are emotionally drained following mishaps in sports.

"When I see the athletes and coaches who come here for training at 6 a.m., I really think they have an extreme job, and it makes me want to do something for them," he said. "Since we can't get disappointing results at the Tokyo Olympics, I'm currently consulting with various experts on their psychological issues."

Some critics have argued that South Korea's conservative sports culture that forces athletes and coaches to live together at a camp for months is blocking the healthy development of sports. But Shin said such a method should be controlled carefully.

"Since our athletes' physical conditions are not superior to some others, I think that training methods are needed at a propel level in order to have strong mental strength, stamina and teamwork," he said. (Yonhap)