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23 August 2020 | in FISU Student Ambassadors, NUSF News

'Get the best of both worlds as a student athlete' says KUSB

Korea NUSF 2“Get the best of both worlds, as a student-athlete by putting forth consistent effort," said Byong-Jin You, the chairman of the Korean University Sports Board (KUSB) and member of FISU Executive Committee as FISU Student Ambassadors Kyung Eun Lee and Sun Gyun Lee spoke to him about the past and future of Korean University Sports.


In 1993, You was the president of the Korea University Football Federation and participated in the World University Games in Buffalo. Starting as a Committee Member of the Korea University Sports Board, he has been serving as a FISU Executive Committee member since 2015, for development of international university sports. In 2015, he spearheaded the Gwangju Summer Universiade and led the first overall championship in Korea.


“For me, the three competitions - Muju-Chonju Universiade in 1997, Daegu Universiade in 2003, and Gwangju Universiade in 2015, are my most precious memories," he said. "These events were a great chance to introduce the excellence of Korean university sports to the whole world.”


Korea has its own special structure which is divided into domestic and international tasks. Amongst them, KUSB is delegated to oversee international events such as the FISU World University Games (formerly Universiade) and the World University Championships in coordination with the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee.


South Korea NUSF“It means that we are recognised by the government for our responsibility and role, and are able to represent our nation at an international level. It was sometimes challenging to connect with the domestic sports competitions, but this has now been stabilised for a long time which allowed us to fully focus on international tasks and to solve financial constraints. It is the most ideal system for Korea," he added. 


As President of KUSB, his long-term goal is to host the winter edition of the World University Games once again. It has been 25 years since Korea hosted the Muju-Chonju winter games. He explained that the foundations and sporting infrastructure for winter games was significatnly improved and established after the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.


“We are ready to hold the winter games successfully. I am hoping we can host the World University Games here in Korea," You said, with pride.


With his various experiences in sports administration, he stressed on the importance of balancing sports and education. “University life has been split into athletes and students. This does not allow athletes to enjoy the privilege of being students, having the right to study. It is also unfortunate that college admissions do not let them choose a variety of majors. Student-athletes should study sports or whatever their interests lie in.”


Korea NUSF 1“I would like to promote a positive learning environment that helps student-athletes continue their studies while training. By doing so, they will be able to find an approach that greatly benefits them, even after retirement. To achieve this, there is a room for improvement in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education and sport federations."


Remarkable records and a large number of medals have made Korea a sporting powerhouse in recent times. The country strives to discover promising young players and trains them efficiently with cutting-edge technology.


"However, we are just getting started" said You. "And there is still a long way to go for the development of university sport."


You believes the key thing KUSB needs to do to lead the development of international university sport is producing specialised sports leaders. “There is a shortage of talented individuals who can promote the excellence of Korean university sports and can use their positive influence as a sport diplomat.”


He added that “It doesn't happen overnight. Student athletes need to continue to work on their self-development by building a great wealth of expertise in their sport fields. Language skills and extensive knowledge are the main components to grow as a global leader.”


The Korean University Sports Board has played an important role for decades in helping student-athletes take part in international events and providing them with an education that would prepare them for life beyond sports. We're looking forward to seeing sport leaders of the future emanate from Korea. 


By: FISU Student Ambassadors Kyung Eun Lee and Sun Gyun Lee