S.Korea's Lee targets golden finale for hosts
South Korea's Lee Bong-ju will defend his men's marathon title on Monday when he aims to give the host nation another athletics gold as the 14th Asian Games draws to a close.india Updated: Oct 13, 2002 21:10 IST
South Korea's Lee Bong-ju will defend his men's marathon title on Monday when he aims to give the host nation another athletics gold as the 14th Asian Games draws to a close.
Lee, who holds the national record of two hours, seven minutes and 20 seconds, is bidding for a fourth consecutive men's marathon gold for Korea. He has already won the 2001 Boston marathon and took silver at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Lee will be following in the footsteps of North Korea's Ham Pong-sil after she won the women's marathon on Sunday to pick up the country's first athletics medal of the Games.
After her victory Ham was asked about the men's marathon and said: "North Korea won gold today so for the sake of Korean unification I hope South Korea win the men's marathon tomorrow."
If Lee does take the marathon gold he will add to the two athletics golds South Korea have won in the women's javelin and men's high jump.
Japan's marathon hopes rest with Koji Shimizu, seventh at the 1999 world championships in Seville, and Ryuji Takei, a 10,000 metres silver medallist at the World University Games in 1991.
Shimizu secured his place in the Games team after coming second in the 2001 Fukuoka marathon in 2:09:28. He won the 1997 Tokyo marathon and ran a personal best of 2:09:00 two years later.
Takei first broke the 2:10.00 barrier in the 2000 Lake Biwa marathon and has a personal best of 2:08:35, which was also set in Lake Biwa this season. He is coached by Japan's marathon great, Toshihiko Seko.
Japan have been disappointing in athletics with only two golds from the men's hammer and the 200 metres out of the 45 on offer. China, who will look to Gong Ke in the marathon, have taken 15 athletics golds.
China meet hosts South Korea in the finals of both the men's and women's basketball on Monday.
The Chinese will be overwhelming favourites to retain their titles after the men demolished Kazakhstan 131-62 and the women eased past Japan 92-69 in the semi-finals.
China's giant centre Yao Ming, who scored 19 points in just 13 minutes in the semi-final, is set to play his last game before officially signing a four-year deal worth about $18 million with the NBA's Houston Rockets.
South Korea are going for a clean sweep of all five gold medals on offer in the badminton competition.
Lee Hyun-Il faces Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat in the men's singles final after beating Indonesian Hendrawan 2-0. Hidayat overcame South Korea's Shon Seung Mo 2-0 in Sunday's other semi-final.
In the men's doubles final Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung face Thailand's Pramote Teerawiwatana and Tesana Panvisavas, while in the women's doubles final Ra Kyung-min and Lee Kyung-won meet China's Gao Ling and Huang Sui.
South Korea have already won the mixed doubles gold with Kim Dong-moon and Kyung-min, silver medallists at the world championships last year, beating Khunakom Suudhisodhi and Saralee Thoungthongkam of Thailand 2-0 on Sunday.
Finally, the individual show jumping features the first and second rounds at the Pusan Equestrian grounds on Monday. But the men's marathon will be the main focus as Lee tries to round off a successful Games for the hosts.
First Published: Oct 13, 2002 21:10 IST