Posted August. 19, 2008 07:39,
○ Korea to join top 10 in golds
Korea is expected to add to its gold medal count in the second half of the Beijing Summer Olympics.
The country`s first gold was won by judoka Choi Min-ho and swimmer Park Tae-hwan and the women`s archery team followed.
More golds were won by the mens archery team (Aug. 11), air pistol shooter Jin Jong-oh (Aug. 12) and male weightlifter Sa Jae-hyouk (Aug. 13).
Female weightlifter Jang Mi-ran lifted the gold by breaking the world record Saturday. Mixed badminton team Lee Yong-dae and Lee Hyo-jung won the gold the day after.
Korea has eight gold, nine silver and five bronze medals, ranking sixth behind China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.
Russia (eighth with seven gold medals) and Italy (ninth with six golds) are expected to overtake Korea in track and field, cycling, and canoeing, but Korea should make the top 10 in golds without difficulty.
Yang Tae-young and Yoo Won-chul in the parallel bars and weightlifter Jeon Sang-geun will vie for Korea`s ninth gold medal. Welterweight boxer Kim Jung-joo will compete in the semifinal Friday.
Taekwondo, which starts Thursday, will determine Koreas final gold record. The country is fielding two male and two female competitors in the event.
Hwang Kyung-seon in the womens 67-kilogram class is favored to win the gold. Cha Dong-min (mens 80 kilograms), Son Tae-jin (men`s 68 kilograms) and Lim Su-jeong (womens 57 kilograms) are the other three.
○ Korea ahead of Japan
In the Athens Olympics four years ago, Korea ranked ninth with nine gold medals but was outpaced by fifth-place Japan, which won 16 golds.
Things are different in Beijing, however. Japan, which took eight of the 14 judo golds in 2004, won just four this year. Though male swimmer Kitajima Kosuke won two golds in the breaststroke, Ryoko Tani got only a bronze.
Japan is not expected to win an additional gold medal except in gymnastics. As a result, Korea is expected to beat Japan for second in Asia.
○ U.S. and Russia fall, N. Korea and Britain rise
The United States, which has led the medal count for three straight Olympics, has lost its momentum in chasing China after Jamaica dominated in track and field.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the men`s 100 meters in record fashion and compatriot Shelly Ann Frasier won the same event for the women. Eight golds from swimming phenom Michael Phelps has not been enough for Team USA.
Russia, which finished third with 27 gold medals in Athens, might not make the top five after failing to win golds in air pistol shooting and boxing.
North Korea, which failed to win a gold in Athens, is doing better this year. Pak Hyon Suk won the womens 63-kilogram title in weightlifting and Hong Un Jong claimed the womens vault.
Kim Jong Su, however, was stripped of his silver and bronze in shooting after failing a drug test.
Britain ranked 10th with nine gold medals in the Athens Olympics, and is third in Beijing with 11 gold medals in events such as cycling, rowing and sailing.
Germany, which ranked sixth with 13 golds in Athens, is fourth this year with nine golds and hopes for a top five finish. In the 1988 Seoul Olympics, however, East Germany ranked second with 37 golds and West Germany fifth with 11 golds.