Korean Archers Win 3rd Straight
By Kang Seung-woo
South Korea survived a late surge by Italy to win the final in the Olympic men's archery competition 227-225 on Monday at the Beijing Olympic Green Archery Field.
With the win, South Korea earned its third straight Olympic title in the event.
The Korean squad, comprised of Park Kyung-mo, Im Dong-hyun and Lee Chang-hwan, also set an Olympic record with its 227 points.
The men's archery gold was the country's fourth at the Beijing Olympics, the second most of any nation, behind only China with nine. Korea has also won four silver medals.
Nam Hyun-hee became the first South Korean women in history to win an Olympic medal in fencing. The 27-year-old took the silver after losing to Italy's Maria Valentina Vezzali 6-5 in the individual foil final.
Favored judoka Wang Ki-chun won a silver medal after losing to Azerbaijan's Elnur Mammadli in the final bout of the men's 73-kilogram class by ippon.
Mammadli, who lost to Wang in the final at last year's World Championships, sent the South Korean to the mat in 13 seconds to avenge his previous defeat.
The Korean women's handball team routed third-ranked Germany 30-20 to pick up its first win in Group B, while South Korea suffered a 77-72 loss to Russia in women's basketball.
In men's archery, South Korea led 117-111 after the second end and seemed headed to an easy win, but the European rivals cut their deficit to two points in the third round, and tied it at 199 with three arrows for each country remaining.
However, Italy's final archer Mauro Nespoli, who fired a seven points in his first attempt of the final, hit seven again on his last, while the South Koreans scored nine, 10 and nine with their final three arrows to seal the Olympic title.
``Preparing for the Olympics, Im Dong-hyun had a tough time by exchanging his bows twice,'' said coach Jang Young-sool, who guided the South Korean women to team and individual gold medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
``Park Kyung-mo, the oldest on the squad, led the team well for the Olympics.''
In fencing, Nam failed to maintain a lead with 41 seconds left against the second-seeded Vezzali 5-4, but the South Korean, who reached the quarterfinals at the Athens Olympics in 2004, conceded two points in a row to see the Italian top the Olympics in the event for the third straight time.
In judo, Mammadli threw Wang to the ground for an ippon with a leg-grab for the gold.
Wang, 18, who defeated Athens gold medallist Lee Won-hee at the Olympic trials, won matches in the first two rounds in Beijing by ippon and beat Brazil's Leandro Guilheiro, who took bronze, by Waza-ari. He also won by yuko in the quarterfinals.
Korea's handball team, which has won two Olympic championships, enjoyed a goal spree. Midway through the second half, South Korea scored consecutive goals to lead the European handball power by 10.
Korea's substitute goalie Lee Min-hee produced 19 saves on 35 shots.
South Korea rallied from a nine-point deficit to tie its game against Russia Saturday.
Turnovers cost the women's basketball team. While leading 72-71 with two minutes to go, the Koreans committed a series of traveling violations to give possession to Russia, which took the lead on a goal by Tatiana Shchegoleva, who scored 13 points in the game.
South Korea's lone tennis entry Lee Hyung-taik crashed out in the opening round of men's singles with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss against Rafael Arevalo of El Salvador.