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Kim Yong-mi Wins Her First Gold Medal

Posted October. 02, 2002 22:56,   


It was a sheer moment of joy for the Korean cyclist who plans to retire after the Asian Games.

Kim Yong-mi, a 26-year-old women’s bike racing player known for her hardworking and competitive spirit, thought of Jun Dae-hong, her fiancée and colleague of same age, when she finished the 96.8km road cycling course in 2 hours 49 minutes 19 minutes.

It was Jun who encouraged her to fight on when she almost gave up after the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. The victory came as surprise even to most of coaching staff.

Kim, who was in a second group until the 40km mark, began to speed up and finished first. It was the first gold medal for the Korean cycling team. Before her retirement, Kim aims to claim another victory in the point race.

She won a bronze medal in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, the only medal by female cycling players at that time, and swept the five women’s cycling races in the annual National Games last year. The 1m54cm 53kg small-sized cyclist has been recognized for her last spurt.

Kim will get married to Jun Dae-hong she has dated for four years in Daejun on Nov. 10. And she thanks him for the victory today.

When she had hard times after her poor performance in the road racing in Bangkok, he was standing by her, giving words of encouragement and training together. Without him, she might have just given up.

Finishing the line first, she extended her arms up in the air. “It was my dream to win a gold medal in the Asian Games. I am so happy,” said Kim shedding tears of joy. “I just hope Dae-hong, who gave up the race back in Bangkok, can grab a gold medal, too,” she blushed.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com