14 August 2012
The Korean Olympic Committee says a South Korean footballer acted in the heat of the moment when he held up a sign with a political message after his team's Olympic Games victory over Japan. The player, midfielder Park Jong-woo, was investigated for holding a placard after the bronze medal Olympics match on Friday.
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The sign that's put the South Korean footballer onto the headlines read "Dokdo is our land." Dokdo, or Takeshima in Japanese, are a set of islands half way between Korea and Japan, that have been disputed between the two countries for decades.
A Korean Olympics Committee official told reporters that the sign that the midfielder displayed was handed to him by spectators at the end of the match, and the player simply ran with it overcome with the joy of victory. FIFA, the world football governing body, has asked the Korean Football Association to further investigate the incident and provide results by the 16th.
Political messages are banned at the Olympics and the 23-year-old footballer was barred from attending the medal award ceremony.
In South Korea, passion remains high over the rocky islands under dispute. For many Koreans, it is a reminder of 35 years of colonial rule by Japan. While Korean territory before its annexation was eventually returned, the claim to Dokdo or Takeshima has continuously been disputed.
On Friday, a few days before Korea's Liberation Day, President Lee Myung Bak made a surprise visit to Dokdo, the first South Korean President to set foot on the disputed islands, generating fierce criticism from Japan.
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triumph or success
prevented or forbidden
barely controlled emotion
- colonial rule
being controlled or ruled by
incorporation or attachment to
- to set foot on