Seoul, June 9, a colourful opening ceremony today marked the start of the second Asian amateur track and field championships with Japan expected to dominate the 17 nation competition in the absence of China.
Seoul, June 9, a colourful opening ceremony today marked the start of the second Asian amateur track and field championships with Japan expected to dominate the 17 nation competition in the absence of China. The six-day championships were opened by Mr Kim Tail-Soo, president of the Korean amateur sports association and Korean Olympic committee. The opening ??? started with 90 officials and 298 athletes marching into the 30,000 seat ??? stadium before a crowd of about 20,000. The flags of Brunei, Hongkong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea were Hoisted around the stadium. Brunei is represented by one official only and Saudi Arabia, with seven official and 11 competitors, is taking part for the first time. Some 2,000 pigeons and thousands of balloons were released as Korean Woman runner Kim Kyung Sook circled the track with a torch to set aflame the stadium's sacred tower. Several gold medal winners at the 1974 asian games at Teheran are competing by the chinese, who took five gold medals, are not competing, although invited together with north Korea and Mongolia. Competition begins tomorrow with 39 gold medals 23 for men and 16 for women to be contested until Saturday. Asia's fastest runners, Anat Ratanapol of Thailand and Mrs. Esther Rot of Israel, will highlight the opening days events when both athletes compete in the hats in the mens and womens 100 metres dash respectively.
Mrs. Rot is favoured to win the women's 100 and 200 metres and the 100 metre hurdles to repeat her feat at the last asian games. South Korea are expected to pick up their first gold medals with Fail Ok-Ja surpassing all others in the womens shot put. The Korean girl won the event in Teheran with a heave of 16.28 metres.
The Japanese will be strong contenders in the distance and field events. Japan won 19 gold medal in the first Asian athletic championships but at the 1974, Asian games t tally dropped to 10.