Japanese swimmer takes goldWhile Korea was still worked up over female swimmer Nam Yoo-sun reaching the final round of an Olympic swimming event ― a first for a Korean ― Japan’s two-time world breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima took the gold medal in the men’s 100-meter yesterday.
The 21-year-old Japanese swimmer finished in 1 minute, 0.08 seconds, edging out American rival Brendan Hansen, who clocked 1 minute, 0.25 seconds. Kitajima is considered the man to beat in the 200-meter breaststroke tomorrow.
Japan has set a goal of winning 10 gold medals in Athens, four of them in swimming. As for Korea, Nam’s seventh-place finish is the nation’s best in swimming at the moment.
“Considering that Japanese and Korean athletes share similar physiques and stamina, we can first point to differences between the two countries’ training programs as a good reason why Korea lags far behind Japanese swimmers,” said Choi Il-wook, director of the Korea Swimming Federation. “A systematic training program called the Japan Institutes of Sports and Sciences exists there, fully embracing its role to train athletes.”
Though Korea established a sports sciences research center of its own in 1980, that institution is experiencing hard times, making it impossible to produce many talented swimmers like Nam Yoo-sun, Choi added.
by Lee Min-a