By Duncan Mackay

Korean Olympic Committee logoFebruary 19 - A row has broken out in the run-up to the elections to elect a new President of the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) after allegations that a commission is trying to influence the result. 

Kim Young-chae, President of the Korea Women's Sports Association and vice-president of the Korea Swimming Federation, was last week named by the KOC's Board of Directors as the new head of the Athletes' Commission, giving her a vote in the election.

She was named as a replacement for Lee Elisa, who is one of the two candidates to replace Park Yong-sung and had stood down from the Athletes' Commission because of a conflict of interests. 

But now, Yonhap News report, that several members of the Athletes' Commission has issued a statement complaining that Kim has been chosen because of her close links to Kim Jung- haeng, the former President of the Korea Judo Association, who is Lee's only opponent in the KOC election, which is due to be held on Friday (February 22).

They have complained that her appointment will "adversely affect impartiality of the vote".

They said under the Commission's rules, the outgoing President should have named her replacement because she was no longer able to perform her duty due to "unavoidable circumstances."

The Athletes' Commission have asked the KOC Board to nullify their decision to give the role to Kim Young-chae,

But KOC said they stood by their decision and retaliated by asking the Athletes' Commission to stop making "groundless accusations" and threatened a legal action without an official apology.

Whoever is elected President will enjoy a high-profile in their new role as Pyeongchang is due to host the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics and South Korea are expected to be among the leading nations at next year's Games in Sochi and the Summer Olympics in Rio in 2016. 

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