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Pak Honored With Sports Medal


LPGA rookie star Se Ri Pak has received South Korea's second highest sports medal from President Kim Dae-jung.

Pak, 21, was one of three South Korean athletes who were to receive the Order of Sport Merit Maengho, or Brave Tiger, in a ceremony on Monday. But the golfer missed the ceremony because of the flu.

"I am proud of Korean daughters," Kim said after pinning the medal on Pak in a brief ceremony today at the presidential Blue House.

[Pak]
Pak poses with South Korean President Kim Dae-jung after getting the medal. (AP)


When the president asked Pak about her health, she said: "I am OK now."

Pak had been hospitalized for four days for treatment for flu and exhaustion and did not take part in this week's Japan Classic golf tournament.

She returned to her parents' home in the Seoul suburbs on Wednesday. She has since rested and gone "shopping and gossiping with friends."

Pak had been besieged by the media and driven to exhaustion with an unending round of promotional events for her corporate sponsor Samsung since she returned to South Korea on Oct. 27.

Pak rose to fame after winning four LPGA tournaments, including the U.S. Women's Open and the LPGA Championship, in the best LPGA rookie year since Nancy Lopez debuted in 1978. She leaves for the United States on Saturday, where she will compete in the Tour Championship, the last LPGA event of the year.

Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Chan Ho Park and golfer Pearl Sinn received their medals from the president on Monday.

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