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Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng wins second straight player of the year award
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- Ki Sung-yueng, an integral part of South Korea's bronze medal-winning team at the London Olympics, claimed his second straight South Korean male footballer of the year honors on Friday.

   In a vote by 20 football journalists and seven technical officials at the Korea Football Association (KFA), Ki, midfielder for Swansea City in the English Premier League, earned a total of 70.2 points. Ki, 23, edged out Lee Keun-ho, winger for the Ulsan Hyundai Tigers in South Korea's K-League, who earned 65.2 points.

   A first-place vote was worth three points, A second-place vote two points and a third-place vote was worth one point. Each vote by technical officials was multiplied by 2.86 to ensure equal value with media votes, the KFA said.

   At the London Games, Ki converted the clinching penalty in the shootout against Britain during the quarterfinals, as South Korea stunned the host nation 5-4.

  
Ki Sung-yueng (R), midfielder for Swansea City in the English Premier League, is the 2012 South Korean male footballer of the year. (Yonhap file photo)


After dropping to Brazil, South Korea blanked the region rival Japan 2-0 in the bronze-medal contest to claim its first-ever Olympic football medal.

   During the offseason in Europe, Ki left Celtic FC in Scotland and signed with Swansea City to become the 10th South Korean to join the English Premier League. He had earlier helped Celtic win the Scottish title. Swansea City is currently ranked 10th among 20 English clubs.

   Lee, 27, just missed adding the KFA award to his collection. Last month, he was named the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Player of the Year after leading Ulsan to the title of the AFC Champions League, the continent's premier club competition.
Lee was also the MVP of the AFC Champions League, as Ulsan enjoyed a 12-game unbeaten run en route to its first continental trophy. Lee scored four goals, all of them during the knockout phase.

   Koo Ja-cheol, captain of the Olympic team in London, was third with 54.2 points.

   In the women's category, Jeon Eun-ha, a striker for Gangwon Provincial University, was named player of the year for the first time. Jeon edged out Ji So-yun, the Kobe INAC forward in Japan who'd won the award in 2010 and 2011.

   Jeon, 19, also starred for South Korea's under-20 national team that reached the quarters at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in August. She scored four of South Korea's five goals at the tournament.

   Among other recipients of the day, Hong Myung-bo, head coach of the men's Olympic team, received a special contribution award for guiding South Korea to the bronze medal in London.

   The KFA also recognized players, coaches and referees at different levels of competition, from elementary school to minor professional leagues.

   jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)
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