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Dong-A-sponsored athletes develop into champions

Posted November. 30, 2010 10:21,   


Asian Games swimming champion Park Tae-hwan and marathon gold medalist Ji Young-jun are among athletes sponsored by The Dong-A Ilbo who have developed into stars in their respective sports.

The daily has hosted sporting events since the 1920s to promote national consciousness. Starting with a tennis competition in 1923, the nation’s oldest sporting event, Dong-A has held a series of baseball, swimming, marathon and cycling events.

The events include the Dong-A National Soft Tennis Competition, Golden Lion National High School Baseball Tournament, Dong-A Swimming Competition, the Seoul International Marathon and the Tour de Seoul.

Among many athletes sponsored by Dong-A, Korea’s first gold medal in the Guangzhou Asian Games was delivered by swimmer Park. He won the 200-meter freestyle Nov. 14 by setting an Asian record and finished the Asiad with three gold medals.

Park started to receive attention from the 2001 Dong-A Swimming Competition, where he won the 100- and 200-meter freestyle as an elementary school student. As a 10th grader in 2005, he won the 200- and 400-meter events by setting national records.

In soft tennis, Kim Kyung-ryun won Asiad gold with Ji Yong-min Nov. 15 in the doubles competition. Kim had won the doubles division at the Dong-A Soft Tennis Competition for five straight years.

In cycling, Cho Ho-sung won the gold in the 4-kilometer men’s team pursuit Nov. 16. Dong-A launched a cycling competition in 1968 as the country’s representative event in the sport but suspended it in 1997.

Relaunched last year after a 12-year hiatus, the race was renamed the Tour de Seoul and Cho was the first to pass the finish line.

In baseball, Korea defeated Taiwan in the Nov. 19 Asiad final. The hero was Bong Jung-keun (Seoul LG Twins), who helped the team avenge its loss in the Doha Asian Games four years ago. In high school, Bong led his team to the 1997 Golden Lion Tournament title, the oldest sporting event hosted by Dong-A.

In weiqi, or baduk in Korea, a game that made its formal debut in Guangzhou, Dong-A competitors also stood out. The daily launched Korea`s first national baduk competition in 1956 and helped strengthen the modern basis of the game.

The Korean men’s baduk team of Lee Chang-ho, Choi Chul-hwan and Lee Sae-dol won gold in baduk Friday in Guangzhou. Lee won the national competition in 1990, and his two teammates have also done the same.

Finally, Ji Young-jun, who developed through the Seoul International Marathon, won the gold in the marathon on the last day of the Asiad. In the 2003 Seoul race, Ji finished second to Gert Thys of South Africa by just one second.

Ji finished the race at 2 hours, 8 minutes, showing potential to follow world-class marathoner Lee Bong-ju.

Though not a Korean, Zhou Chunxiu, a Chinese marathoner who won the gold in the women’s marathon in Guangzhou, won the Seoul race in 2005 and 2006.