August 26, 2011 11:08
Korea is gunning to win its first-ever medal at the World Championships in Athletics when its athletes take to the stage for nine days of competition in Daegu starting on Saturday.
So far, marathoner Kim Jae-ryong's fourth-place finish in Stuttgart, Germany in 1993 is the best result produced by a Korean at the biennial track and field meet. This has put Kim and his teammates under pressure to finish this year within the top three in the men's team marathon.
But Team Korea has otherwise scaled back its ambitions this year and would be thrilled just to get 10 athletes into as many finals -- with a medal the icing on the cake.
Only three others have managed to finish in the top 10 so far: Lee Jin-taek finished sixth in 1999 in the men's high jump; Lee Myung-sun, a woman shot putter, was 10th in 1999; and Kim Deok-hyeon placed ninth in the men's triple jump in 2007.
Meanwhile, Kim Hyun-sub set a Korean record of 1 hour, 19 minutes and 31 seconds in men's race walking in March for the year's seventh fastest time. If he can pull out a show-stopping performance in Daegu by capitalizing on the home advantage, a medal could be on the cards.
Kim Deok-hyeon is another leading prospect in the men's triple jump, as is Jung Sang-jin for the men's javelin throw, and Lee Mi-young in the women's shot put.
The 400-meter relay race may yield unexpected results as the discipline includes a number of factors that may suddenly alter the course of the events, such as the potential dropping of the baton when runners switch over.
Park Tae-kyong, a bronze medalist in the men's 110m hurdles at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, female pole vaulter Choi Yun-hee, female long jumper Jung Soon-ok and female hurdler Jeong Ye-lim are also part of the country's humble ambition to place its athletes within the top 10 finishers.
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