Sports
Korea off to slow start on Day 1 at world championships
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Published : Aug 27, 2011 - 22:16
Updated : Aug 27, 2011 - 22:16

DAEGU (Yonhap News ) -- Host South Korea got off to a sluggish start at the World Championships in Athletics that opened on Saturday with female marathoners falling short of expectations and a young sprinter getting disqualified from the men's 100 meters.

The country's goal of finishing inside the top 10 in 10 events looked to be in danger from the first day, after Kim Kuk-young was disqualified from the preliminary round of 100m on a false start.

Kim, who holds the national record of 10.23 seconds, had been expected to cruise into the next round and then challenge for a spot in the final. His national record, set last year, was better than any of the personal best times by 30 other competitors in the preliminary round.

But Kim's leg visibly moved on the starting block before the gun was fired, and officials ruled him out of the race. He was teary afterwards, saying he might have been too pumped up for the race.

"It was supposed to rain here in Daegu but the sun came out," Kim said, with tears falling behind his sunglasses. "I felt great, and I had a bit of a breeze from the back. But I perhaps got carried away a bit."

Kim is also a member of South Korea's 4x100m relay team. He said he has mostly focused on the relay but was still trying to make a splash in 100m as the only South Korean representative.

Chang Jae-keun, a former South Korean sprinter working as a photo judge during the championships, said the sensor in Kim's block went off to indicate that the runner's foot had moved, even before on-field judges disqualified him.

  Earlier Saturday, South Korea ended in seventh place in the unofficial marathon team event, which combines times of three fastest runners for each country.

Kim Sung-eun, Lee Sook-jung and Chung Yun-hee, had the combined time of 7 hours, 59 minutes and 56 seconds, well behind Kenya's winning time of 7:26:57. Kim topped the trio with 2:37:05 to end in 28th place.

The team event medals don't count in the standings, but a medal in the event would have given South Korea much-needed boost from Day 1.

South Korea could become only the third host of the athletics world championships to be shut out of medals. South Korea has won only one unofficial world championships medal so far -- a silver in the men's team marathon at the 2007 event in Osaka, Japan.

The only bright spot for South Korea on Day 1 so far has been Chung Hye-lim, who won her 100m preliminary heat at 11.90 to reach the first round. It was the third fastest time among 35 sprinters in preliminary.

Later Saturday, Jung Soon-ok will compete in the qualification round for women's long jump.

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