Exclusive: I can take ITU to the next level, says Presidency candidate Yu
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
October 10 - South Korea's Yu Kyung-sun, who will challenge Marisol Casado for the Presidency of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) later this month, has outlined his ambition to take the world governing body to "the next level" if he is elected to the high profile position.
The 57-year-old age-group triathlete, the current vice-president, will challenge Casado at the ITU Congress in Auckland on October 23.
The 55-year-old Spaniard succeeded Les McDonald as the ITU President in 2008 and two years later was made a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but Yu, a successful businessman who chairs business group Eugene Corporation, feels that he will be able to take the ITU further than his Spanish rival in the coming years.
"I have great respect for Marisol Casado," Yu told insidethegames.
"Marisol served triathlon admirably but now it's time to take ITU to the next level.
"It's time to meet the challenges that our sport is facing.
"ITU recorded an accumulated deficit of $6.8 million (£4.3 million/€5.3million) during the last four years.
"Moreover, the projected deficit for the next four years is about $9.2 million (£5.7 million/€7 million).
"This means that ITU is just eating up the IOC contributions.
"We are on an unsustainable course that leads to catastrophe.
"We should be following IOC's prudent example: The IOC keeps increasing its economic reserves for future use.
"ITU needs to operate on a similar business model.
"Our operation cannot be remote from our most important constituency: the athletes and the National Federations that develop them.
"The voices of athletes and National Federations (NF) must be firmly reflected in our policies: scholarships for athletes, increasing prize money and sport development budget, funding for emerging NFs, and expanding the sport.
"Armed with the two principles of professionalism and open communication our team will overcome the challenges we are facing and lead ITU to the next level."
Yu continued that he has a three-point plan to strengthen the ITU.
"First, athletes and NFs must be brought at the centre of ITU focus," he explained.
"More money and services must be directed to athletes and to the NFs.
"My team will implement a plan that will improve NFs funding and will provide benefits to athletes.
"Right now only a minority of NFs participate in major triathlon events.
"This is unacceptable and we need to address it immediately.
"Second, the financial status of ITU should be strengthened.
"Without proper control of expenses and additional revenue creation the ITU will not survive economically and it will fail to perform its most important role that is to serve athletes and NFs.
"My team has carefully prepared a plan that will cut expenses and increase revenue.
"Third, ITU is not a small organisation and it cannot run as a club so it must be managed by professionals like a world-class operation.
"That's why I have set out from the beginning to form a new team for the brighter future of ITU.
"The criteria to be part of the team were wide experience, both in business and a proven sport leadership.
"I can tell you today that my team is cut out to operate ITU effectively, meet the challenges to a brighter future."
Perhaps Yu's biggest challenge to become ITU President will be convincingly addressing the issue that saw him forced to resign as the Chef de Mission of South Korea's Olympic team for London 2012 after he was implicated in a corruption scandal.
He appeared before prosecutors accused of acting illegally in a deal with Hi-Mart Corporation, a major appliance retailer in South Korea, when his conglomerate acquired a major stake in the company in 2007.
He was not officially charged and says he is happy to clarify the topic.
"There was an inquiry regarding a tax dispute," he said.
"This is common in all democratic countries and I welcome it.
"I was not charged of anything.
"I voluntarily resigned from my position as Chef de Mission to allow for a speedier completion of the process.
"During the Olympic Games the athletes deserved to have all the attention on them.
"I could never allow any loss of their focus from competition.
"My attitude towards the athletes and my decisiveness to assist in the process was highly commended in Korea.
"Today I am running for the position of the ITU President with the full hearted support of the Korean Olympic Committee and Korean Government as both know that my priority was and always will be the sport and the athletes."
Yu concluded by explaining his desire to help the sport modernise over the next four years.
"We need to improve ITU's profile and develop further our relationship with the IOC," he said.
"A productive relationship with the IOC is the cornerstone of our effort to expand the sport.
"And this is also on the top of our agenda.
"That's why I am happy to say that the members of the new team have worked with the IOC membership and administration in their respective functions as sports administrators or even in bid committees that earned the privilege of organising the Olympic Games.
"I also had the privilege to be part of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic bid committee as an executive member.
"I was actually honoured to be selected by the President of Korea Mr Myung-Bak Lee to be awarded the 'Order of Sport Merit'.
"One of the new team's pledges is to work with the IOC with the purpose to include a mixed team relay event in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
"We intend to present our plan to both the IOC and the Rio Organising Committee.
"We believe that this is an exciting new discipline that will benefit the athletes and attract sponsors and spectators.
"The IOC has the knowledge of improving a sport and we have the knowledge of triathlon.
"My team members have a good working and personal relationship with their counterparts in the IOC and I believe the two organisations will come out with some exciting news for our sport going to Rio in 2016.
"We are entering a new era of communications and openness.
"The social media provide a useful tool for it.
"So I will be talking about my plans and my team plans a lot on Twitter.
"It's a bit new to me, but I think if I can manage to complete triathlon races I should be able to manage 'Tweeting', I actually find it fascinating.
"Also, it will provide me another avenue to communicate with triathlon athletes, coaches and fans.
"So, feel free to follow me at @Kyung_SunYu."
September 2012: Scandal tainted South Korean to stand against Casado for ITU President's post
March 2012: South Korean Chef de Mission for London 2012 resigns because of corruption scandal