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2004 Korea Open International Judo Tournament

Posted December. 03, 2004 22:56,   


A tornado of teenagers is tearing up the judo mat.

In the center of it all are two 18-year-olds, Lee Jung-hee from Gyeonggi Physical Education High School and Ishii Satoshi from Japan, who won top places at the women’s lightweight and men’s half-heavyweight at the 2004 KRA Cup Korea Open International Judo Tournament, which opened on December 3 at Halla Gymnasium, Jeju, Korea.

Lee Jung-hee beat Kim Mi-hwa of Daebul University in the final match by scoring “ippon” with “small inner thigh reaping counter (O-Uchi-Gaeshi)” in one minute and 47 seconds, becoming a new hopeful for gold in the women’s judo league in Korea, which has not scored a medal in the Olympics since Sydney in 2000.

This is the first gold medal won at an international tournament, after placing fifth place at this year’s World Junior Championship and coming in second at the first match of the Korea National Championship. Lee’s inner thigh technique is her best move, as Lee started training in Judo in her fifth year in school after learning tae kwon do for flexibility and strength.

With her eyes already set on winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lee is a tough teen who says, “Though there were times when I wanted to quit because of the strenuous training, I decided to hold on until I achieve my goal.”

Coach Yoon Ik-sun of the women’s national team thinks highly of Lee’s potential saying, “She has very good posture and flexibility, and she is quite skilled in matches.”

Ishii, who beat Athens Olympics silver medalist Jang Sun-ho of Korea Racing Association (KRA) at the under 100-kilograms final, also won the Kodokan Japanese National Judo Championship, Japan’s most prestigious judo tournament, as the third high-schooler ever to win the match.

This year’s World Junior Champion Ishii won with a “yuko” by “inner thigh reaping (Uchi-Mata) technique” at two minutes and 15 seconds into the overtime match after five minutes of stalemate with Jang Sung-ho in the final match, boasting his capacity that far surpasses the one of the typical high-schooler.

In the men’s under 90-kilogram competition, 2003 World Champion Hwang Hee-tae of KRA beat Vojouclian David from France with a shoulder throw (Seoi-Nage). Kim Sung-bum, also from KRA, was victorious over Hong Sung-hyun of Yongin University, vindicating his honor from losing the first match of the national championship.

Sang-Ho Kim hyangsan@donga.com