[EDITORIALS]Hail to Lee Bong-ju!

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[EDITORIALS]Hail to Lee Bong-ju!

Lee Bong-ju, the pillar of Korea's marathoners, has finally achieved his goal. He won the 105th Boston Marathon, a celebrated race with a long tradition and history. We are thrilled to hail Mr. Lee, who defeated a field of the world's strongest runners at the age of 30. We congratulate him for bringing honor to our nation.

Mr. Lee's victory is even more meaningful because it gave hope and courage to all the people of our country. It was the most heart-stirring event after this long period of economic, political and social hardships which swept our country since the foreign exchange crisis. The news certainly encourages people who had been in a swamp of despair and grief. Among the Korean people who watched Mr. Lee wearing the laurel wreath and kissing the champion's cup on television in the early morning, no one failed to feel the overflowing joy and pride of the Korean marathon runner's victory.

Considering Mr. Lee's personal history, his victory at the Boston Marathon is even more touching. Although he has enough talent and ability to win any race, he had not yet been able to make his mark among the world's marathoners. At the Sydney Olympics last year, he fell down during the race and came in 24th despite his promise to win, disappointing everyone who earnestly hoped for his victory. Therefore, some were doubtful about whether he could make a comeback on the marathon scene. He almost gave up running in marathons after his father died in February. Yet he became more determined than ever: He faced all the hardships bravely and turned his misfortunes into a turning point to win his goal.

Although Korea has produced several star marathoners, there seem to be no promising newcomers who can lead the post-Lee Bong-ju era. The future of the marathon in Korea is worrisome because people tend to ignore track and field and other basic sports while paying more attention to professional sports.

The victory of Mr. Lee is an outcome produced by the runner himself, trainers and sponsoring companies. But the government should come up with measures to revive marathon in our country, such as supporting young runners with a bright future. We should be able to call upon the wisdom and support of the entire nation to ensure that Korea's name will continue to appear in the front ranks of world marathon runners.
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