31-year-old record broken

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31-year-old record broken

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Kim Gook-young sets a 10.23-second record in the 100 meters. [YONHAP]

It took 31 years, but a new Korean record in the 100-meter sprint was set not once but twice yesterday at the National Athletics Championships at Daegu Stadium.

Nineteen-year-old Kim Gook-young first broke the 10.34-second record set by Seo Mal-ku at the 1979 Summer Universiade in Mexico in the preliminary heat, which he ran in 10.31 seconds.

Roughly 90 minutes later, he broke his own best in the semifinals heat, shaving .08 seconds off his previous time for a new record of 10.23 seconds. Runners-up Lim Hee-nam and Yeo Ho-su clocked in at 10.32 and 10.33 seconds in the semifinals, respectively.

Kim ran both sprints with a 2.0 meters-per-second wind behind him - the maximum allowed by international standards before a time is considered wind-aided and disqualified from record considerations.

The Pyeongchon Information Industry High School grad came into the event with a personal best time of 10.47 seconds in the 100 meters. But he gave hints of his potential to break the record at a national track meet in April 2009, when he ran the 100 meters in a wind-aided time of 10.17 seconds. The wind was clocked at 4.9-meters per second at the event.

Listed at 1.72 meters (5 feet 6 inches) tall, Kim makes up for his small size with an explosive start off the blocks. Having begun competing on the school track team in second year of middle school, Kim went on to become an outstanding sprinter at the high-school level.

“I don’t really think of my size as a disadvantage,” a confident Kim told the JoongAng Ilbo. “I merely have to run harder to stay ahead of the pack. I am capable.”

Having put off post-secondary education to focus on his athletic career, Kim said he intends to enroll at a university after the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu.

The cocksure young sprinter had predicted he would set a new record during a press conference at the 2010 Colorful Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting last month.

“To be honest, I am clocking in an average of 10.04 seconds to 10.49 seconds, but my time’s improving as I compete in more events,” Kim said then. “If I maintain this pace, it’s possible to break the Korean record of 10.34 seconds and hope for 10.01 seconds.”

At the Pre-Championships in Daegu, Kim, along with three other Korean sprinters, raced against world record-holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica in the men’s 100-meter sprint. The youngest competitor in the race, Kim placed last in the field of nine with the time of 10.74. Bolt won with a time of 9.86 seconds.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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