SK Group, which has sponsored players in handball, fencing and swimming, offered extra incentives to cheer on South Korean national players participating in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
With its chairman Chey Tae-won’s extraordinary love for sports and its management philosophy of sharing happiness with the public in mind, SK Group gives full support for the South Korean national team participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The chairman Chey encouraged both men’s and women’s national teams after watching the 2016 regularly scheduled handball match between Korea and Japan, which was held at SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium, Seoul on June 25. And then he also visited the Taereung National Training Center on July 6, located in the northeast part of Seoul, where he met the women’s national handball players to ask them to fight well in the upcoming Olympics.
SK Group has long provided backing for the development and base expansion of handball games in terms of financial and human resources. As the chairman took office as the president of the Korea Handball Federation in 2009, the group began to form a closer relationship with the handball world. Since then, it has steadily implemented a long-term strategy designed to transform handball into one of the country’s top three popular sports. First of all, the company constructed the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium at Olympic Park in Seoul to secure a handball-specialized stadium, which is the long cherished dream of all the handball players. In addition, it has built up a foundation for the long-term development of the Korean handball by making efforts including the likes of founding club teams and the Korea Handball Foundation, promoting the business league toward professionalization, and enhancing national competitiveness through support for national teams.
SK’s efforts to vitalize the business league started with SK Sugar Gliders, a women’s handball club founded in the end of 2001. In addition, with SK Hawks founded in February 2016, a men’s club team based in North ChungCheong Province, the company could make an aggressive movement toward invigoration of men’s handball, which has recently lost public attention. Thus, SK has become the only company in the country to manage both men’s and women’s handball teams.
With the help of the support, South Korea’s national handball teams achieved outstanding outcomes of its women’s team winning the championship and its men’s team taking second place in the 2014 Incheon Asian games. Earlier, in the 2012 London Olympics, the women’s team accomplished the splendid feat of advancing to the semifinals, even though key players like Kim On-a could not play in early matches due to injuries. The South Korean women handball team earned its ninth straight berth in the Olympics, the first of its kind in the world, as it qualified for the finals in the 2016 Rio Olympics despite most Korean teams’ poor performance in ball games. The exceptional results that the woman handball team has so far won two golds, three silvers, and one bronze in a total of eight Olympic Games have helped handball become the beloved sports game in the country.
SK Telecom, an affiliate of SK Group, has sponsored the Korean Fencing Federation, providing substantial financial support to make great strides in South Korean fencing. After Kim Young-ho won a gold medal in men’s fencing in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Korean fencing failed to produce star players for several years. However, SK Telecom began sponsoring the federation in 2003, boosting Korean fencing. Now, fencing has emerged as a sport where South Korea is guaranteed a lot of medals in international games. Korean fencing grabbed two golds, one silver and three bronzes in the London 2012 Olympics and eight golds, six silvers and three bronzes in the Incheon 2014 Asian Games. In order to help Korean fencing players perform well in the Rio Olympics, SK Telecome held the 2016 SK Telecom Seoul Grand Prix for men's and women's sabre in March, which offers higher ranking points to players, second only to the World Fencing Championships.
SK Telecom also sponsored hero swimmer Park Tae-hawn. Now the company, along with Park’s Australian coach Michael Ball, is supporting promising swimmers who dream of becoming Park Tae-hwan. It supported Lee Da-rin, a promising female backstroke swimmer, in 2014 and has sponsored An Se-hyeon (age 21), a butterfly swimmer representing South Korea, since 2015.
In April, the executive team of SK Group visited the Taereung National Training Center and provided 300 million won (about US$260,000 million) in incentives to the national players who will compete at the Rio Games.