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``Welcome! X-Games``

Posted May. 22, 2001 08:00,   


X-Games; eXtreme Games of 21st century’s new sports are receiving an explosive popularity in Korea.

Representative events of the X-Games are inline-skating, skate-boarding, bicycle-stunt (BMX) and the artificial rock climbing. There are already more than one hundred thousands of X-Game lovers in Korea.

Supported by the escalating popularity, the `2001 National X-Game Spring Competition` was held from 19th to 20th at the Culture Square in Yeoido, Seoul.

Maeng Kwang-Suk (28), one of 148 participants, wearing an off-road motorcycle helmet and protectors was called `a heretic` of X-Game.

At his age, Maeng’s participation of the X-Games, that is regarded as an exclusive teen sport, is a fresh example which epitomizes the X-Games.

In the 2nd round final of BMX Aggressive-Park division on 20th, Maeng, who started 6th among 10 finalists, soared high in the sky after kicking away from a center structure. He performed a highly difficult skill rotating a 360-degree in the air. However, disturbed by the screaming of the spectators, Maeng hit the ground after loosing his balance. Yet, he did not stop. Without hesitation, he got up immediately and he attempted the `transfer` skill in which he jumped and hurdled over another structure. But once again, it was a failure.

Maeng had to leave without a successful stunt within the allotted time of 1 minute. Kwon Dong-Geong (25) took the 1st place after completing the `back-flip` stunt in the air.

Although Maeng had failed to become a member of the Korean representative team, he could not stop smiling. The fact that there were more than 2.000 spectators in the first domestic competition, Maeng considered this to be a happy event.

He is so called the 1st generation BMX rider. He began to ride in the BMX circuit from junior in middle school. He has self-taught the BMX stunt which was very rare at that time.

All participants of the competition did their best as it was not only the first competition in Korea, but an event in which Korean representatives were selected.

The composition of participants such as Hong Se-Rin (10), a student at Baeksuk Elementary School, who participated in the skateboard division, and Tod Garner (33), an American participant in the BMX division, exemplified that X-Games are already rapidly being proliferated to all generations.

After completing his attempts, Maeng smiled sweetly saying, ``No one but those who have tried it can appreciate the feeling of soaring in the air riding with a BMX bicycle.``

Jeon Chang jeon@donga.com