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Do You Know about Decathlon?

Posted August. 31, 2007 08:01,   


A ‘Renaissance Man’ refers to a person who is excellent in all areas.

Track and field has one, too. He runs the 100m like a cheetah, and throws a shot put and a javelin like Hercules, and then sprints the 1500m like a zebra.

Kim Geon-woo, 27, is a track and field renaissance man, and he participated in the decathlon in the 2007 Osaka World Track and Field Championships.

The decathlon is an athletic event combining 10 track and field events: the 100m run, long jump, shot put, high jump, the 400m run, the 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and the 1500m run. The event lasts for two days. The final ranking comes after counting scores in all 10 events. The world record winner is Roman Šebrle of the Czech Republic with 9,026, a record far ahead of Kim’s 7.824.

“It is the first time in my life I competed in the world championships. I felt like a foil for other competitors, but I won’t be intimidated. I will work hard to become as good as they are,” said Kim, who began the sport as a high school senior.

He is the most outstanding Korean in the field, claiming his seventh Korean championship title last year.

“Until the middle of my high school senior year, I practiced the hop-step, but I was not so good at it. But within a month since I changed to the decathlon, I won the gold medal at the fall secondary school championship. Then, I thought ‘This is it!’”

He feels most confident in the 1500m run, the last event of the competition. In the 2005 Asia Track and Field Championship, he came in first in the event. A sports announcer mistakenly shouted, “Korea’s Kim Geon-woo has won his country’s first gold medal.” However, he ranked 2nd in total points.

“There is no coach for decathlon athletes in Korea. I want to study abroad to learn the decathlon’s events individually. Four years later, I will show you a better performance.”

His goal in this championship is to put his name within the top 15 among 30 participants. His challenge begins at 10:00 a.m. on August 31.