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S. Koreans win gold, silver in men's roller skating

Oct. 1, 2023 - 17:05 By Yonhap

Choi Gwang-ho of South Korea celebrates after winning the men's 1,000-meter sprint event at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on Sunday. (Yonhap)

HANGZHOU, China -- South Korean Choi Gwang-ho won the gold medal over compatriot Jung Cheol-won in a brand new roller skating race at the Asian Games on Sunday.

Choi finished first in the men's 1,000-meter sprint event with a time of 1:29.497 to edge out Jung, who grabbed silver in 1:29.499.

Roller sports have been in and out of the Asian Games since 2010. The men's and women's 1,000m sprint events made their debut in Hangzhou on Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, Lee Ye-rim grabbed bronze in the women's 1,000m sprint with a time of 1:38.750.

In the men's final, Choi was in second place early in the race before getting into the mix for the gold with two laps remaining. He moved into the lead at the last corner and then came charging down the final straight to hold off Jung by 0.002 second. Chao Tsu-Cheng of Chinese Taipei finished third in 1:29.527.

Choi had previously won two silver medals at the Asian Games.

Choi's long-awaited hunt for a gold medal had faced a huge obstacle right after his first podium finish in 2010.

He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, which causes severe pain in the abdomen and cramping, threatening his athletic career. He couldn't take any medication due to doping issues, and he couldn't digest food properly.

"The disease had brought some acute attacks, and at that time, it was hard for me to train and even live a normal life," he said. "I've fought against the disease for about 10 years."

In the run-up to this year's quadrennial event, which was postponed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the illness did not bother him and let him go through all the training he had planned.

"I've worked intensively with my colleagues for the past four months as if this is my last Asian Games," he said. "I think I was lucky that I haven't experienced a slump in my condition."

In the women's race, Lee finished behind two skaters from Chinese Taipei: Li Meng-Chu (1:38.518) and Liu Yi-Hsuan (1:38.712).

The one other South Korean in the final, Park Min-jeong, finished fourth in 1:38.780.