Posted August. 01, 2008 03:29,
The main squad of the Korean national team, which aims to enter Top 10 for the two consecutive times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is set to embark on a grand journey today.
The 56-strong squad departs for Beijing, China, at 9:30 a.m. today from Incheon International Airport on board KA851.
The squad is made up of 31 senior officials, including Korean Olympics Committee chairman Lee Yeon-taek, national team chief Kim Jeong-Haeng and general director Lee Elisa, and 25 athletes of four different sports -- gymnastics, weight lifting, cycling and rowing.
The size of the main squad is smaller than usual, even though the total number of the Korean Olympics team is 389 -- 122 staff members and 267 players -- because the travel distance between Seoul and Beijing is short and athletes of different sports will depart on different dates in order to maintain their top condition.
The Korean national team will participate in the flag-raising ceremony at the Athletes Village at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Park Tae-hwan, who is targeting to bring Koreas first gold medal in swimming, and the archery team, which aims to sweep all four gold medals, will fly to Beijing on Sunday. Weightlifter Jang Mi-ran, who is expected to win the gold medal in the open-weight category, will leave the country on Aug. 8 and go for the gold medal on Aug. 16 after taking a dope test.
Korea ranked ninth at the 2004 Athens Olympics with nine gold, 12 silver and nine bronze medals. Korea aims to snatch more than 10 gold medals this time, mainly in archery, Taekwondo, swimming and weightlifting.