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88th National Sports Festival Opens in Gwangju

Posted October. 09, 2007 03:24,   


The 88th National Sports Festival opened in Gwangju, Korea’s “City of Lights,” yesterday. The theme of the games is “Asia’s Light.”

Torches were lit in Manisan, Ganghwado, Mudeungsan, Gwangju, the 5.18 National Cemetery and in front of Gwangju City Hall. The torches were then carried by 680 runners from all social classes, including sportsmen, entrepreneurs, labor activists, and street cleaners. When the main torch was lit at Gwangju World Cup Stadium, 20,000 spectators cheered.

The festival will run through October 14 and feature 30,000 athletes in 41 events. The athletes will be representing their hometowns.

Child runners Jeong Jeong-gil (age 9) and Kim Do-yeon (age 10) from Sahmyook Elementary School, who symbolize the “future” of Gwangju and Korea, grabbed the attention of guests, including President Roh Moo-hyun, Gwangju mayor Park Gwang-tae, Korea Sports Council chairman Kim Jeong-gil, and German International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Walther Troger.

The first day of the festival witnessed the first gold medal in weightlifting. Up-and-coming weightlifter Noh Guk-gi (age 18, Busan Physical Education High School) won after lifting 106kg, followed by Shin Dong-jin (aged 17, Chungbuk Physical Education High School), who lifted 104kg. This was the first gold of the games, except for one in shooting that was awarded before the official opening of the festival. Noh added his gold medal to the one he won with a 143kg clean and jerk lift. With the total of 249kg, Noh grabbed three gold medals in weightlifting competition.

Gangwon-do’s Choi Gyu-tae (age 18, Hoengseong High School) won two gold medals in the male high school student 62kg snatch event (120kg). Choi failed to become a three-gold winner after coming in second in the clean and jerk after a lift of 147kg. Won Jeong-shik (age 17, Wonju High School) came in first with a lift of 148kg.

In bicycling, Kim Won-gyeong (Daegu Physical Education High School), who won the festival’s first gold in last year’s games, came in first in the women’s 500m track race with a record of 37.770 seconds.

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