Memorial for Marathon Runner

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Memorial for Marathon Runner

A memorial for Nam Seung-ryong, the bronze medalist in the marathon at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin who died at the age of 89 on Tuesday in Seoul, has been set up.

Mr. Nam had been in a coma since Jan. 12 and stopped eating solid food at the end of last year.

His last public appearance was at the September 1996 commemoration of the 60th anniversary of his medal-winning performance in Berlin.

A number of former world-class athletes came to pay their respects to Mr. Nam after his death.

Soh Yun-bok, 79, who won the Boston Marathon in 1948, wished his former coach well in the other world, adding that although Mr. Nam was a man who humbled himself before others, he dreamed of running under the Korean flag while winning at an international competition.

Both Mr. Nam and Son Gi-jeong, who won the gold medal at the Berlin games, had no choice but to run under the Japanese flag because Korea was colonized by Japan at the time.

The Japanese athletic federation, uncomfortable at the thought of having two Koreans on its national team participate in the Games, had even tried to hamper them from running.

Born in Suncheon, South Cholla province, Mr. Nam excelled in athletics from an early age, the records show.

At the 1936 Japanese Olympic Trials, Mr. Nam, who was then a student at Meiji University in Japan, outran Mr. Son and came in first.

Mr. Nam's passion for the marathon was exceptional and lasted for many more years.

In 1947, at the age of 35, he finished 10th in the Boston Marathon. After that he was actively involved in the Korea Amateur Athletic Federation, helping to train many talented runners like Mr. Soh.

by Lee Chul-jae

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