Korean hurdlers aim to run in final
By Yoon Chul
The hurdle events often end up being close calls. The men’s 110-meter hurdles at the upcoming World Championships in Athletics in Daegu is expected to be a close race among the top three contenders because of the margin of their personal bests.
World record holder Dayron Robles, Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang and American hope David Oliver are only .01 second apart, with fastest times of 12.87, 12.88 and 12.89 seconds, respectively.
While Korean hurdler Park Tae-kyung remains far from their level, the national team captain will enter the championships with an obvious goal.
“I will cross the finish line within 13.38,” Park said earlier this month on his hopes for the games.
The 31-year-old holds the Korean record of 13.48 seconds, set at the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.
“I think if I achieve my goal, I will make it to the final round,” Park said.
The Korea Association of Athletics Federations (KAAF) has said that it wants to see 10 Korean athletes to finish in the top 10 in their individual events in Daegu, and Park is on that list.
“In training I have continuously run under 13.4 seconds. If I perform as I have in practice, I can put in a good showing.”
Park hopes to run in the same heat as Liu.
“I’ve had a lot of experience competing with Liu, so I’m more comfortable running with him. I can improve my race if I run with him,” added Park.
The Korean hurdler also revealed his personal goal.
“I want to beat the Chinese athletes during the world championships,” Park said.
So far the Korean has never overcome Chinese opposition, though at this time his real target is not Liu but Shi Dongpeng.
Park has narrowed the gap against Shi.
In the 19th Asian Athletics Championships in July 2011, Park was only .01 seconds behind Shi,clocking in at 13.66 for a bronze medal.
Park mentioned that domestic fans need to keep their eyes on Jung Hye-lim, a rising female Korean hurdler.
Jung competed in the 100-meter hurdles in the Asian Athletics Championships last month and finished second with a time of 13.11.
“Her potential is tremendous. So far, she has shown only half of it,” Park explained
“My condition is good. I have prepared for the world championships for a year,” Jung said.
Her primary goal is to break the Korean record of 13.00 set by Lee Yeon-kyung, and advance to the semifinals.
“I will run until the last centimeter of the finish line,” the 24-year-old sprinter said. She started hurdling at 11 and the KAAF sees her as a rising star along with Lee. Her progress was slowed after she injured her left calf in 2009.
Based on previous world championships, the female sprinters needed to finish around 12.74 seconds to make the final. For Jung, there is some way to go to reach the last round but she remains hopeful.
“I will get accustomed to Daegu’s hot weather as well as the track so that I can be assigned a better lane in the final,” Jung said.