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S. Korea picks up 1st gold in roller skating

By Yonhap

Published : Sept. 30, 2023 - 14:28

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South Korean roller skater Jeong Byeong-hee celebrates his victory after winning the gold medal in the men's 10,000m point-elimination roller skating final race at Qiantang Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou, China, during the 19th Asian Games. (Reuters) South Korean roller skater Jeong Byeong-hee celebrates his victory after winning the gold medal in the men's 10,000m point-elimination roller skating final race at Qiantang Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou, China, during the 19th Asian Games. (Reuters)

South Korea won its first gold medal from roller skating at the 19th Asian Games in China on Saturday.

Jeong Byeong-hee clocked in 15:39.867 and scored 19 points in the men's 10,000m point-elimination final race at Qiantang Roller Sports Centre in Hangzhou, outpacing Zhang Zhenhai of China by five points.

His compatriot Choi In-ho finished third with 11 points.

This is South Korea's first gold medal from the roller sport at the Hangzhou Asiad.

Earlier in the day, Yu Ga-ram won bronze in the women's 10,000m point-elimination race, earning 14 points after Shih Pei-Yu and Yang Ho-Chen, both from Chinese Taipei, who had 21 and 18 points, respectively.

In point-elimination racing, skaters who pass the line last at each lap are eliminated and the top two skaters are awarded points. The three skaters who earn the most points win medals.

Roller sports made their Asian Games debut in 2010 in Guangzhou but they weren't part of the quadrennial competition in the 2014 Incheon Asiad.

They have returned to the fold since the 2018 competition in Indonesia, and 10 top medals are at stake, with artistic and speed track events competed, in Hangzhou.

Jeong said he had dreamed of winning an Asian Games gold medal after watching former medalists Son Geun-seong and Woo Hyo-sook, one of South Korea's most decorated inline skaters with multiple world championships, standing on the top podium at the 2010 competition.

But he needed 13 years to make his dream come true as roller skating was eliminated from the Asian Games program in the 2014 event. In 2018, there were only two medal events in roller skating, which he did not compete in.

"They are my idols and dreams. I wanted to have the same title as them," he said in a telephone interview with Yonhap News Agency. "I've endured those tough times in order to achieve my dream."

Jeong said his dream is not over with the first gold in the individual event. He will keep running for the men's 3,000m speed skating relay competition slated for Monday.

"I'll team up with my teammates to get the gold in the 3,000m relay," he said. "I will work hard for the next Asian Games and become an ever-improving athlete." (Yonhap)