‘Curls Generation’ members quit over coach’s alleged abuse

March 29, 2014
Korea’s leads Um Min-ji, left, and Lee Suel-bee react after their teammate’s shot missed a target during their bronze medal game against Russia at the World Women’s Curling Championships in Saint John, New Brunswick, last Sunday. (Yonhap)

Korea’s leads Um Min-ji, left, and Lee Suel-bee react after their teammate’s shot missed a target during their bronze medal game against Russia at the World Women’s Curling Championships in Saint John, New Brunswick, last Sunday. (Yonhap)

By Nam Hyun-woo

Four members of the women’s national curling team have resigned, claiming their coaches had verbally and sexually abused them.

Korea was knocked out of the Sochi Winter Olympics, but reached the final four in the Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Saint John, Canada, earlier this month.

Um Min-ji, 23, Lee Suel-bee, 26, Kim Ji-sun, 27 and Gim Un-ji, 24, announced they were quitting their semi-pro club affiliated with Gyeonggi Provincial Government to protest abuses by assistant coach Choi Min-suk, according to Yonhap.

Shin Mi-sung, 36, the one remaining team member has long indicated that she would resign to take care of her family. She was not involved in claims made against the coach.

The Korea Curling Federation (KCF) plans to look into the allegations, while the provincial government tentatively concluded Friday that most of the curlers’ claims were true following a two-day investigation.

The women also said the coach forced them to donate part of reward money they received for their Sochi performance.

Shinsegae Group gave each of them 7 million won.

They claimed Choi demanded 1 million from each of them.

The coach admitted using foul language but said this was only to encourage the players to perform better. Regarding the money, he claimed this was to “encourage young curlers.”

He tried to tender his resignation, but the provincial sports body decided to fire him.

Meanwhile, the federation plans to impose the most severe disciplinary action against Choi.

Curling became popular in Korea during the Sochi Games because of the team’s performance, overcoming its status as little-known sport.

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