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Seoul Nat’l U. Team Competes for 1st Time in 8 Yrs.

Posted April. 08, 2009 06:10,   


Though all of Seoul National University’s runners failed to advance to the second round, all of them smiled.

The university’s all-amateur athletic team competed in the 64th National Collegiate Athletic Championships, which doubles as the qualifying competition for the Summer Universiade, for the first time in eight years. The event was held at Andong Citizens’ Stadium in North Gyeongsang Province yesterday.

Wang Ryang, a Chinese who became a naturalized Korean citizen and is a sophomore physical education major, had a time of 15.05 seconds at Group 2 in the first round of the men’s 100 meters. Wang trailed as much as 4.31 seconds behind Yeo Hosua (Sungkyul University), the winner of his group and a member of the national team with a time of 10.74 seconds.

Wang trailed about 30 meters behind Yeo, and had a time of one minute 20.78 seconds in the men’s 400 meters. Wang crossed the finish line 30 seconds after winner Park Sang-woo (49.09 seconds, Yeungnam University).

Nevertheless, Wang kept smiling, saying, “I felt nervous probably because I participated in the race for the first time.”

Wang is a novice runner who joined Seoul National University’s team only three weeks ago to lose weight. He chose the physical education department because he liked basketball, but could not play due to a shoulder injury.

So he began running “to lose weight and look cool.”

Shin Se-ho, a social science major who recently completed his military service, joined the team due to his fond athletic memories in the military. He participated in this year’s competition to check his capacity, but failed to qualify for the 100 meters due to a foul.

He also failed to pass the first round in the 400 meters with a time of one minute 3.34 seconds, finishing last among four runners. “Elite athletes run really fast,” he said, adding, “I’ll try more to improve my record next time.”

Seoul National’s athletic team consists of pure amateurs with little or no experience with elite sports teams.

Lee Joon-soo, a senior physical education major, ran the 100 meters at 12.23 seconds, a record for Seoul National in the championship. Seven competitors from the university ran but none passed the first round.

All of them enjoy running itself, however. Team leader Cho Yo-han, a senior physical education major, said, “We cannot even think of victory but we do our best. We take a brief time out after school three days a week to exercise, but all members do their best in exercise.”

The university’s athletic team is funded by member fees, so it could not even think about participation in the university championship, whose annual membership costs 400,000 won.

Fortunately, the team competed in this year’s event thanks to support from alumni. Kim Dong-joo, chairman of competition at the Korea Athletic Federation, said “Seoul National University’s participation in the competition was meaningful since it showed students at the elite university also enjoy athletics. It was great to see them regardless of how they performed.”

In the competition, Yeo won the men’s 100 meters with a time of 10.56 seconds, just missing out on Korea’s 30-year-old national record of 10.34.