North Korean and South Korean athletes were set to appear on the same medal podium at the Asian Games on Tuesday as military tensions heightened on their divided peninsula. Seoul claimed that North Korea shot dozens of rounds of artillery onto a populated South Korean island near their disputed western border. South Korea scrambled jets to the area.
South Korean media reported a marine had been killed and several people were injured. At the Asian Games in this southern Chinese city, a North Korea press attache who declined to give his name told The Associated Press that "we have no plans to change our original plans, which is to compete here." In the women's individual archery competition, South Korea's Yun Ok-hee won gold, beating Cheng Ming of China in the final. Kwon Un Sil of North Korea won bronze in the same event, meaning the Korean pair were destined to be side-by-side to receive their medals. Both competitors were scheduled to appear at a later news conference.
North and South Korean athletes also competed against each other earlier in women's skeet shooting. North Korea won a bronze medal in the women's 10-meter synchronized diving event. Their competitors _ Choe Kum Hui and Kim Un Yang _ smiled during a news conference following the medal presentation but were not asked any questions. There was a prospect of North and South Korean archers meeting in the women's individual event in the afternoon. According to Asian Games organizers, there are 788 athletes from South Korea and 188 from North Korea competing at the Nov. 12-27 games.
South Korea is a distant second to China in the gold medal race, with 62 halfway through Tuesday's medal events. North Korea has five golds. Guangzhou Asian Games communications advisor Jeff Ruffolo told the AP that the games would continue as planned and that security strategies in the athletes village and all venues involved "contingencies on contingencies." Elsewhere at the games on Tuesday, India's Somdev Devvarman won his second international multisports tennis title in two months, this time without the benefit of a parochial home crowd.
Devvarman scored a 6-1, 6-2 upset victory over Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin, adding another gold medal to his trophy case which already contains one from the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last month. Both players are regulars on the ATP tour. Devvarman, who was born in Assam, India, now resides in Charlottesville, Virginia after attending the University of Virginia from 2005-08 and winning back-to-back American collegiate singles titles. It was one of Devvarman's biggest wins over a much higher-ranked player _ Istomin is ranked 40th, Devvarman is 106th.
When Istomin's forehand went wide on match point, Devvarman fell to the ground on his back and put his hands over his face. Earlier, Taiwanese cyclist Hsiao Mei-yu of Taiwan won the women's individual road race in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 46 seconds over Santia Tri Kusuma of Indonesia and China's Zhao Na.
In the women's 20-kilometer walk, defending champion and Guandong province native Liu Hong of China won gold in the six-competitor race. Masumi Fuchise of Japan was second and China's Li Yanfei third.
There was some personal drama, however, for Liu _ she walked the second half of the race carrying two warnings for "lifting" _ failing to keep at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times _ and a third would have meant disqualification. "We can predict all the conditions that might happen in the competition, so I'm not surprised to get two red cards," Liu said.
"We have a full plan and I was confident. "In the first half I just closely followed the Japanese athlete (Fuchise), and in the last four kilometers, I began to go at my own pace."
Meanwhile, local media were reporting that blackmarket tickets to events featuring Chinese star athletes are commanding up to 20 times the face values. Scalpers were doing a brisk business for badminton superstar Lin Dan and Athens Olympics gold medal hurdler Liu Xiang. Police have arrested nearly 200 scalpers for attempting to sell more than 1,300 tickets.
More than 2.3 million tickets have been issued for the games, but many of the venues are only half-full because companies given tickets as part of their sponsorship package are not being used.