S. Korea adds nine golds to stay 2nd at Asiad
By Yoon Chul
South Korea remained second in the Asian Games medal standings in Guangzhou winning nine gold medals on Saturday.
With the Asiad passing the halfway point, South Korea, which is aiming for more than 65 gold medals to defend second position, already has 52 golds, 44 silvers and 59 bronzes. Korea’s women archers, an Athens Olympic gold medal wrestler and the mixed doubles team in badminton are all going for gold on Sunday.
The national team’s achievements so far, is much better than expected and it is well ahead of third ranked Japan (29 gold 52 silver 55 bronze medals)
It is the second time for Korea to claim nine gold medals in a day, the first being on Nov. 14.
While the country’s golfers swept all four gold medals as predicted, the cyclists made up for their disappointments on the track in the road race.
Choe Hyeong-min, crossed the finish line first in the 53.4-kilometer individual time trial with a time of one hour eight minutes 16.129 seconds and Lee Min-hye clocked in at 49:38.357 seconds for gold in the women’s individual time trial.
South Korea’s cyclists had hoped for more than four titles at the cycling track, but two strong contenders, Cho Ho-sung and Na Ah-reum crashed as other riders fell down ahead of them.
Choi only joined the national team four weeks before the Asian Games after Yeom Jung-hwan suffered an injury.
“I couldn’t believe it that I acquired the gold medal, I thought I could be third if I was lucky,” Choi said.
“As his pace was so great I thought he could win. But I couln’t believe it that he really grabbed the gold,” Korean cycling team head coach Do Eun-chul said.
In fencing, traditional powerhouse Korea extended their golden streak winning a fifth gold in the event.
Choi Byung-chul scraped home against Chinese fencer Siu Lun Cheung 15-14 in the men’s individual foil event.
Choi took silver in the last two Asian Games in the team competition before heading to China.
In the final Cho was two points behind at 11-9, but stayed calm to tie the match at 14 and took the final point to top the podium.
“I am really happy that I brought the gold medal that I longed for a long time,” Choi said. “Now I will prepare for the London Olympics.”
In bowling the men’s trio of Choi Bok-eum, Choi Yong-kyu and Jang Dong-chul took the gold their compatriots — Suh Sang-cheon, Cho Young-seon and Hong Hae-sol came second.
In sailing Ha Ji-min collected 21 points finishing first in the 12th race of the men’s laser for the victory.
Meanwhile the Korean women’s football team failed to continue their rise in international competitions losing 3-1 to North Korea in the semifinal, and the taekwondo team snatched two silvers on the last day of the event.
The taekwondo team has four gold, four silver and two bronze medals in a disappointing Asian Games, which is only half of the original goal.