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First Korean FIVB referee retires
DECEMBER 27, 2013 04:23  
밒 heard that a person who did bad things in his past life becomes a referee. It뭩 a tough and lonely job but I뭭e done this for about 30 years with pride. I couldn뭪 go home for 18 months and did make my wife and family happy. I thank them for supporting me without any complaint.

Even an avid volley fan would not know the names of referees. It is not the case for Kim Kun-tae, 58. He was a center player (190 centimeters) of a national volleyball team but retired after getting surgery for a rare disease. Then, he worked at a company and then took the path to become a referee in 1985. He became a certified international volleyball referee in 1990 and served as the only Korean referee of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) from 1998 to 2010. FIVB referees are the referees of referees, as the title is given to only 10 out of around 1,000 referees across the world. Chief referees at the Olympics or World Championships are only FIVB referees. Kim was awarded with the 밊IVB referee award in 2011. He is one of the 밷est referees in the world.

밒 served as a referee in the opening match of the FIVB Women뭩 World Cup in October 2007. I was sitting after the first set ended. Things turned black suddenly. It seemed a little better after biting my finger and letting it bleed. A little after the second set, I passed out and fell from the referee chair. It was due to hydration caused by stress. It was being aired live across the world뀛

He worked out hard but his body could not endure the stress. With the launch of the Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO) in 2004, he became the head of referees. He had to train, assign, and assess referees and create local rules. He made Triple Crown, video technology, alcohol tests for referees, and a repeal system. He served as a referee for 2005 and 2006 seasons. When he was in Japan, he was fainted and carried to a hospital and heard a doctor saying he could die. Upon returning to Korea, he resigned from all posts and served only as a referee.

He has served as a referee for 422 matches for nine Korean professional baseball seasons including the World Cups. Now, he is preparing for his last, 423rd, match. It is a game between Woori Card and KEPCO at Yi Sun-shin stadium in Asan on Sunday. A ceremony celebrating his retirement hosted by KOVO will be held before the match. He retires as a referee but will continue train international referees until 2015 for the Asian Volleyball Confederation.

밒n retrospect, I could have done more. I desperately tried to minimize errors, but couldn뭪 make them zero. It (a referee) is poorly paid and has no retirement benefits or pensions. But I hope younger referees could work harder to contribute to the development of volleyball.

Volleyball was the only interest of the veteran referee waiting for retirement.

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