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Wrestlers Seek to Extend Olympic Gold Streak

Posted July. 17, 2008 08:30,   


Exhibition wrestling matches were presented yesterday by 18 grapplers bound for the Beijing Summer Olympics at the Taereung Athletes` Village in Seoul.

Executives from the Korea Wrestling Federation and about 20 sparring partners attended the matches.

The national team’s event yesterday was not an ordinary news conference.

With the Beijing Olympics just around the corner, the country’s elite wrestlers used the event to announce rule changes from the 2004 Athens Olympics. They also staged exercises and training techniques including rope climbing, while referees commented on the techniques.

Another sporting event last week commemorated the 30-day countdown to the Beijing Games at the village, but the federation also thoroughly prepared for yesterday’s event.

A rehearsal was staged to show the association’s confidence in the national wrestling team.

Wresting is important in Korea’s Olympic history, as the nation won its first gold medal in the Olympics thanks to Yang Jeong-mo in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Korea has also won at least one gold medal in wrestling for the past seven Olympics.

Despite waning popularity in Korea, wrestling earns huge attention in every Olympics.

Park Jang-sun, a gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in freestyle wrestling and now wrestling coach for Samsung Life Insurance, said, “We have long awaited this moment. The national wrestling team will definitely win a gold medal for the eighth Olympics in a row to bring good news home.”

The team aims to win at least one gold in Beijing, and depending on the athletes’ conditions, could take as many as three or four golds, said the association.