The Korean city of Daegu will be bustling with one of the world’s largest athletics events this weekend as the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics will take place there on August 27.
Athletes and a staff of nearly 3,500 workers from more than 200 countries, the largest number of participants ever in the event’s history, will participate in the upcoming nine-day Championships, which will also bring top-class athletes from around the globe.
The Championships, run by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), will add Korea to the list of seven countries in the world which have hosted the world’s three largest sporting events -- the Summer Olympics, the FIFA World Cup, and the IAAF Championships.
|Athletes run in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at the Daegu Pre-Championships Meet in May 2011.|
The 58 athletes of the Korean national team will compete in 34 out of the 47 events of the upcoming championships to achieve the goal of making it to the finals in at least ten events.
The championships will begin with the women’s marathon which will start at 9 a.m. on August 27 at Gukchae-bosang Memorial Park. On the same day, the men’s 100-meter dash will be the first track event, starting at 10 a.m. It will be held in Daegu Stadium, the same place where the opening ceremonies will be held later that day at 7 p.m. In the field, qualifications for the women’s discus throw will take place at 10 a.m. the same day.
World-leading athletes are training around the championships venue after arriving in Daegu for the competition. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, nicknamed “the fastest man on Earth,” has been training in Daegu after arriving in the city on August 16.
Daegu citizens are united in hope for the successful hosting of the IAAF Championships. Nearly 6,000 Daegu residents will participate in the events as volunteer workers. More than 17,000 citizens are expected to show their ardent support by cheering for the athletes.
Marathon and racewalking are considered some of the most promising events for the Korean team, as sports experts assume Korean athletes will take advantage of home matches and will be more able to adapt themselves to Daegu’s hot and humid weather.
So far, two Korean marathoners -- Sohn Kee-chung (1912-2002) and Hwang Young-jo -- have made history in world athletics, having won the gold medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, respectively.
For the upcoming IAAF Championships, Korea's athletes are doing their utmost to add another Korean chapter to marathon history.
The Korean men’s team led by Jeong Jin-hyuk will strive for gold at the men’s marathon which will take place on September 4. Jeong’s best record is 2 hours and 9 minutes.
The Korean women’s team led by Kim Sung-eun will also do their best to upset the competition in the match. Kim’s best time is 2 hours and 29 minutes.
|Korean male and female marathoners train to win gold at the Daegu IAAF Championships.|
Racewalking is also considered another promising event for Korean athletes to win medals. According to Hwang Young-jo, former Olympic gold medalist marathoner, this is due to the possibility that leading athletes may be disqualified in the match as they might be considered to be running if they attempt to speed up their walk during the race.
The Korean men’s 20-kilometer racewalking team will be led by Kim Hyun-sub who has a top record of 1 hour, 19 minutes, and 31 seconds. The Men’s 50-kilomter racewalking will be attended by Park Chil-sung, Yim Jung-hyun, and Kim Dong-young. Jeon Yeong-eun will compete in the women’s 20-kilometer racewalking event.
In field events, pole vaulter Choi Yun-hee is receiving local media attention since she is the only Korean female athlete who is expected to reach the final top-ten list in women’s field events. Choi recently changed Korea’s national record of 4.4 meters in June of this year. This is slightly lower than the qualification standard of 4.5 meters for the finals of women’s pole vaulting in the Berlin IAAF Championships in 2010.
In the men’s long jump and triple jump, Kim Deok-hyeon will compete to change Korea’s national record and to make it to the finals. Kim won the gold medal in the men's long jump in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
Korea’s top two javelin throwers -- Park Jae-myong and Jung Sang-jin -- will compete in the men’s javelin throw. Park holds Korea’s national record and has previously won a silver in the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games and a bronze in the 2008 Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting.
For more information, visit the Daegu IAAF Championships organizing committee’s homepage (www.daegu2011.org). (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer