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Korean athletes to adopt simpler names

2012/04/07 | 365 views |  | Permalink | Source

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Park Tae-hwan won three gold medals at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games (photo: Gonggam Korea).

The wide variety of romanization styles used for transliterating the names of Korean athletes has often been the cause of considerable confusion in the sports world. In view of these inconsistencies, the Korean government has introduced an initiative that will standardize the romanization of athletes' names.

The initiative will be implemented in early May, beginning with the English names that appear on uniforms and athlete rosters. The government plans to complete the conversion to a single standard by July, in time to introduce a roster using the revised names of national athletes for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

A government official explained in an interview with Yonhap News on March 30 that the variety of romanization styles and naming rules used across sports disciplines and even within disciplines has made it difficult for non-Koreans to follow and even identify Korean athletes.

This variation in naming styles was apparent at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where badminton player Lee Yong-dae's uniform read "LEE Y D", while baseball player Kim Hyun-soo went by "H S KIM", and swimmer Park Tae-hwan used "PARK T.H".

The new standardization initiative follows an internal initiative launched by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2000 to adopt a standard for romanized names that would place the surname at the beginning and remove any spaces between the syllables of given names.

Accordingly, the proper denotation for star swimmer Park would be Park Taehwan or Park Tae-hwan, and when shortened to initials, Park T.

By Kwon Jungyun Staff Writer

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