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Jeong Nam-kyun Announces Retirement

Posted March. 25, 2004 22:40,   


Promising Korean marathoner Jeong Nam-kyun (26 years old, photo) declared a sudden retirement, raising interest in his motivation.

Jeong, who was the unexpected champion of the 2000 Dong-A Seoul International Marathon with a finish time of two hours 11 minutes 29 seconds, left his camp just after he was hit by Baek Seung-do, the coach of Samsung Electronics Marathon team on March 8, and handed in his resignation on March 16. Jeong confessed, “I went to the hospital with pain in my neck and side.

“I am so exhausted that I want to quit marathon running. I can’t run anymore without pain in the left part of my foot, my knee, and my back. Also there are conflicts with the coaching staff.”

Jeong added, “I will forget anything bad. Now I would like to have a new life. I will finish my military duty first and decide what to do.”

His mother, Seo Young-ae (44 years old) said, annoyed, “I will not tell everything in detail because it’s a matter of my son’s future, but I tell you that he has suffered for a while now. Only two runners performed well out of the 22 marathoners of Samsung Electronics. It means that there must be problems in coaching.”

Head Coach O In-hwan said, “Occasionally, a coach slaps players lightly for training, but Jeong’s retirement is not directly relevant to it. I have been disappointed on him due to his absence from tournaments caused by injures. Yet, suddenly he sent in the resignation to quit marathon running and join the army.”

Jeong won the championship of the 2000 Dong-A Seoul International Marathon while attending the Korea National University for Physical Education, receiving attention as a star marathoner after Lee Bong-joo. But he hasn’t made good records since he joined Samsung Electronics after graduating college.

The professor of Korea National University of Physical Education, Kim Bok-joo, who fostered Jeong, mentioned, “He can possibly be a medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I am sorry that he will quit marathon running with a shameful thing,” adding, “I am persuading him to continue running in the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps.”

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com