Korean archers set three world records at preliminary contest

Park Sung-Hyun set two world archery records and South Korean teammate Im Dong-Hyun fired another yesterday – a day before the Games officially start. Park set an individual world record of 682 points during the ranking round of the women’s competition and another in the team event on her Olympic debut. Im set the men’s individual record but South Korean coach Seo Geo-won downplayed their importance. «We did not expect them to break the record,» Seo said. «Park was not that excited, as this is just the ranking round.» «They were not completely satisfied with their performance,» Seo said. «They began well, but then in the second set of 36 arrows, all three of them tailed off.» The ranking round, where each athlete shoots 72 arrows from a distance of 70 meters (230 feet), was held at a Greek air force base adjacent to the Olympic Village in front a sparse crowd. It determines the order for the direct elimination round which starts Sunday at the Panathenaic Stadium. Park broke the old 72-arrow mark of 679, set in May by Italian Natalia Valeeva. Im shot 687 to better the mark of 685 set by Shim Young-sung in 1995. «This is my first time at the Olympics and it is good to break a record,» the 18-year-old Im said. Park, Lee Sung-Jin and Yun Mi-Jin set a new world mark of 2,030 for the 216-arrow ranking round. The old record of 1,994 was also set by South Korea at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Yun was a member of that team and also won individual gold in Sydney. Lee was second in the individual competition with 675, and Yun was third with 673. Valeeva came in ninth with 650. The South Koreans have traditionally excelled at archery, having won every Olympic individual women’s gold medal since 1984, including a sweep of the medals in 2000. They have also won every women’s team gold medal in the Olympics since the discipline was introduced in 1988. The South Korean men’s team also had a total of 2,030, but didn’t set a record. Unlike the women, South Korean men have not fared that well in the Olympics. No South Korean man has won an individual gold medal, although the South Korean team won in Sydney. China took the fourth and fifth places in the women’s ranking round with He Ying and Zhang Juanjuan scoring 667 and 663, respectively. Cornelia Pfohl of Germany, in her eighth month of pregnancy, finished 18th. In the men’s individual event, Magnus Petersson of Sweden was second with 673 and Marco Galiazzo of Italy was third at 672. Petersson complained about the conditions. «The wind seemed to change a bit and though I was aiming to the right, the arrows were going slightly to the left,» Petersson said. Simon Fairweather of Australia won the title in Sydney but was just 20th in the ranking round. «Over the last week or so, I have been shooting at about the same level as I did in Sydney, both in terms of technique and scores,» Fairweather said. «I didn’t perform at my best today but if I can find that level in the next stages, then who knows?» The scene will change Sunday when the overall competition begins at the Panathenaic Stadium, the horseshoe-shaped arena where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. (AP)

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