Beijing Olympics fencing silver medallist Nam Hyun-hee will compete in the women's individual foil at 2 a.m. on July 29. She will take another shot at the gold at 2 a.m. Aug. 3. in the women's team foil. / Yonhap
Events you don't want to miss
By Jung Min-ho
Today, after four years of waiting, Team Korea's 245 athletes will begin the first stage of their trials at the world's biggest sports event. More than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations are in London, a historic city where the first South Korean Olympic team represented their newly established nation at the 1948 Summer Games.
Due to the eight hour time difference between here and the United Kingdom, Korean fans should be prepared to forsake some of their beauty sleep to hear news of any gold medals on the second day of the international event. On July 29, two of the nation's strongest medal hopes, the men's archery team and the reigning 400-meter freestyle champion Park Tae-hwan, will defend their titles.
During Park's race, most attention will focus on the encounter with China's Sun Yang, who currently has a better personal best of 3 minutes 40.29 seconds, a hair's breadth ahead of Park's 3:41.53. The race is likely to keep many swimming fans up because it is scheduled to start at 3:50 a.m. (KST). Beijing Olympics silver medalist fencer Nam Hyun-hee's women's individual foil is another of Sunday's highlights. A bitter defeat against legendary Italian Valentina Vezzali halted Nam in her tracks four years ago, just a step away from winning. This time, the gritty veteran is more determined than ever to earn the nation's first gold in the sport.
On July 30, judo practitioner Wang Ki-chun will have a second chance to top the podium in the men's under 73-kilogram category. Expected by many to triumph, Wang nonetheless had a taste of what is like to lose in the final due to a rib injury in Beijing. Yet this failure has made him stronger and more mature. This time, there aren't many people that doubt the No. 1 judoka's likelihood of success in London.
On July 31, "Marine Boy" Park will race in the men's 200-meter freestyle and Kim Jae-bum will compete in judo under 81-kilogram competition, followed by weightlifter Sa Jae-hyouk who will seek to repeat his Beijing glory of in the 77-kilogram class. For him, London is especially meaningful because weightlifter Kim Sung-jip won the nation's very first Olympic bronze there 64 years ago.
On Aug. 3, badminton duo Lee Yong-dae and Jung Jae-sung will compete in the men's doubles. The couple tasted the agony of defeat four years ago when they were knocked out in the first round, all the more painful considering they were regarded as the favorites. Leaving this great disappointment behind them, they are now making their final preparations in what will be the last time the two pair up in an official competition with Jung to retire after the games.
In the 60-kilogram Greco-Roman wrestling, 2004 Olympic gold medalist Jung Ji-hyun will look to revive the nation's fortunes in the sport on Aug. 6, which has brought the country 10 Olympic golds. Under the rigorous training of coach An Han-bong's over the past four years, Jung is determined to emerge victorious in London after the national team failed to win a single gold at the Beijing Games.
From Aug. 8 to 11, the taekwondo competition is expected to cause the Olympic fever here to heat up further. In Beijing, Korea cleaned up in all the four weight categories it participated in. Cha Dong-min in the men's over-80 kilogram event and Hwang Kyung-seon in the women's under-67 kilogram class will both bid for second straight titles, with new Olympians Lee In-jong competing in the women's over-67 kilogram event and Lee Dae-hoon entered in the men's under-58 kilogram class. Lee fights on Aug. 8, with three-time Olympian Hwang in action on Aug. 10, followed by Lee and Cha the next day.
The wait has been long and the training behind the scenes excruciating for the athletes. But now, billions of people are to watch the Olympians who are set to stun the world in London.
Source : www.koreatimes.co.kr/... ( English Korean )
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