Oh Ju-han, the first naturalized Korean marathoner, will run with a Korean flag in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The 31-year-old athlete from Kenya finished second in 2:08:42 at the 2019 Gyeongju International Marathon on Sunday. He lost to Kennedy Kiprop Cheboror of Kenya, 29, who won the race for two consecutive years finishing in 2:08:21 this year but bettered the qualifying mark of 2:11:30. This was the first time Oh completed the full course as a naturalized Korean citizen. Only the top three athletes among those who are qualified in the trial can run in the Tokyo Olympics, but the Korea Association of athletics Federations (KAAF) said that the marathoner will easily be in the top three as there is no one who can outdo him.
“It is a bit disappointing as I was hoping to win and finish within 2:05,” Oh said after the race. “My goal is to win an Olympic medal, and I will train towards that goal until the Olympics.” Prof. Oh Chang-seok of Baekseok University, who is the coach of the marathoner, said that Oh’s training will focus on leading the race while reading his competitors’ pace because rankings are more important than records in Olympic marathons.”
Oh will go back to Kenya late November for training and come back in March next year to run the Seoul International Marathon.
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