Judo opens with 2 gold medals; men’s football team reaches final

August 29, 2018

JAKARTA, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korea opened the judo competition of the 18th Asian Games with a bang on Wednesday, grabbing two gold medals along with a silver and a bronze.

And the men’s football team, under fire following a preliminary loss to underdog Malaysia, defeated Vietnam 3-1 to advance to the gold medal match.

South Korea also picked up gold medals in soft tennis, paragliding and track cycling and now has 37 gold medals with four days left.

South Korean judokas An Ba-ul (L) and Jeong Bo-kyeong pose with their gold medals from the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta Convention Center Plenary Hall in Jakarta on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean judokas An Ba-ul (L) and Jeong Bo-kyeong pose with their gold medals from the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta Convention Center Plenary Hall in Jakarta on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea is unlikely to meet its initial goal of 65 gold medals and catching Japan (52 gold medals) for second place will probably be impossible.

The day’s first gold medal for South Korea came from soft tennis, where Kim Jin-woong won the men’s singles title in Palembang, co-host city with Jakarta.

Kim defeated teammate Kim Dong-hoon in the semifinals and then got past Alexander Elbert Sie of Indonesia in the final 4-2 (5-3, 8-6, 6-8, 4-1, 3-5, 4-2).

South Korea pulled off a complete sweep of seven gold medals at the 2014 Asiad. There are just five gold medals at stake this year, and South Korea will not win all five, as Kim Ji-yeon lost to Noa Takahashi in the women’s singles quarterfinals on Wednesday.

In paragliding, the women’s team of Baek Jin-hee, Jang Woo-young and Lee Da-gyeom won the team cross country gold medal over Japan.

They scored 4,924 points after five flights, just 73 points ahead of the runner-up.

Park Sang-hoon was crowned the men’s individual pursuit champion in track cycling. He clinched gold by overlapping Ryo Chikatani with four laps remaining in the 16-lap final.

South Korean track cyclist Park Sang-hoon takes a kneeling bow to his bicycle after winning gold in the men's individual pursuit race at the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta International Velodrome in Jakarta on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean track cyclist Park Sang-hoon takes a kneeling bow to his bicycle after winning gold in the men’s individual pursuit race at the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta International Velodrome in Jakarta on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korea now has two gold, one silver and two bronze medals on the track, adding to the two gold medals from the road races.

On the first day of judo, South Korea won a medal in all four weight categories.

Jeong Bo-kyeong in the women’s under-48kg and An Ba-ul in the men’s under-66kg were the two gold medalists, while Park Da-sol won silver in the women’s under-52kg and Lee Ha-rim picked up bronze in the men’s under-60kg.

With three days of judo remaining, South Korea seems poised to exceed the five gold medals from the previous Asian Games.

Perhaps overshadowing these gold medals was the semifinal victory by the men’s football team.

Lee Seung-woo grabbed a brace and Hwang Ui-jo scored his tournament-leading ninth goal in a convincing victory over Vietnam at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta.

The same squad that suffered a humiliating loss to Malaysia in the group stage — igniting anger in a famously passionate and fickle fan base — now sits one win away from a second straight gold medal. South Korea will face Japan in Saturday’s final.

The victory came against Vietnam’s South Korean-born head coach Park Hang-seo, who has worked some magic with the upstart squad. This was Vietnam’s first appearance in the Asian Games semifinals.

With all three goals having come in the opening 45 minutes, head coach Kim Hak-bum rested his big guns, Hwang and Son Heung-min, for the majority of the second half.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, defending champion South Korea advanced to the semifinals in women’s volleyball with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-18) victory over Indonesia.

South Korea will next take on surging Thailand, which upset Japan in the preliminary round.

South Korean football players celebrate their 3-1 victory over Vietnam in the semifinals of the 18th Asian Games at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta, on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

South Korean football players celebrate their 3-1 victory over Vietnam in the semifinals of the 18th Asian Games at Pakansari Stadium in Cibinong, south of Jakarta, on Aug. 29, 2018. (Yonhap)

 

 

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