Korea Overtakes Japan in Doha Medals Count

Korea on Monday picked up a score of gold medals at the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, bringing the nation’s total to 44 gold, 39 silver, and 70 bronze. That bumps Japan (43, 51, 57) into overall third place. Only China is doing better.

The gold streak began in Taekwondo and wrestling. With a performance worthy of the home of the sport, Song Myeong-seob (67 kg), Kim Hak-hwan (84 kg), and female contender Lee Sung-hye (59 kg) all won gold in Taekwondo. In the 12 weight classes in the sport, Korea picked up nine golds.

It also took three golds in wrestling. In the Greco-Roman competition Kim Min-chul (66 kg), Kim Jeong-seob (84 kg) and Kim Gwang-seok (120 kg) were also celebrating their victory. Athletes even took gold in areas where few had thought it possible. Thus Cho Nam-yi who won the men's masters bowling competition and Park Se-ra took the women's individual epee fencing competition.

In the women's individual pursuit competition Lee Min-hye set a new a new record in Asia at 3 minutes 44.146 seconds, Korea's 38th, and brought the country to a tie with Japan in the medals count. But then Korea took gold in woman's individual archery, individual men's and women's golf and team golf.

Korea also beat China 34-32 in women's handball and beat Iran with a set score of 3-1 in volleyball, taking it to the semifinals. Korean boxer Han Soon-chul beat a Mongolian fighter to the finals, where he took silver.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 12, 2006 12:36 KST