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Jang Mi-ran: I never thought of retirement

After achieving her life-long dream, winning numerous titles, the 28-year-old Olympic champion Jang Mi-ran has found a new dream: helping young hopefuls in minor sports to become like her one day.

“I’m grateful for everybody who has been supporting me, and I believe it’s time for me to give something back to them,” Jang said.

At the Press Center in Seoul, the Beijing gold medalist signed a MOU with Visa to take the first step for her Jang Mi-ran Foundation.

“For a long time, I’ve always wanted to help less-popular Olympic sports which are in need of financial support,” she added.

According to her, the foundation, which will be officially established in February 2012, will set up various sports-related programs, including sports education programs to nurture young Korean athletes and physical education programs for the underprivileged and multicultural families.

“I’m hoping to bring more pubic interest and engagement to minor sports and providing more realistic and long-term support,” Jang said.

At the same time she is hoping to win another medal in London next summer.

Jang recently announced that she will skip next month’s World Championships. Her decision triggered speculations that she is thinking of retiring after the London Games.

Jang, however, dismissed the rumors, noting, “I never thought of retirement. I want to do this as long as I can lift a barbell.”

For a decade, the 170 cm-tall athlete, sacrificed her youth for more than 10 weightlifting medals, which include 2004 Athens silver, and 2008 Beijing gold medals.

After winning her first World Championships in 2005, she kept the title under her belt for four consecutive years until 2009. In 2009 she was named as the Best Female Lifter by the International Weightlifting Federation.

And this year, the hard-working weightlifter made history in Korea by becoming the first athlete to have won the national championships nine times in a row.

(by The Korea Herald)