Hosts South Korea face defending champions Iran in the semi-finals
of the Asian Games soccer tournament on Thursday, while in
athletics Sri Lanka's Susanthika Jayasinghe will go for a women's
South Korea will hope to go one better than at the World Cup when
they take on Iran. Five of the squad that reached the June
semi-finals are in the under-23 squad here, but the Korean team
have yet to hit their stride.
Iran, aiming for a fourth Games title, will be a different
proposition, even without experienced striker Ali Daei, who flew
home before their 1-0 quarter-final win over Kuwait after the death
of his father.
Japan, who have made the last four for the first time since 1970
and have never won the gold, will be confident of ending the
interest of plucky Thailand in the other semi-final at Ulsan's
World Cup stadium.
Sri Lankan golden girl Jayasinghe, the Olympic 200m bronze
medallist, will be going for a sprint double after winning both
events before her home fans at the Asian championships in Colombo
The 27-year-old set a new Asian Games record of 11.15 seconds in
her 100 metres heat on Tuesday and matched that to win the final
after a slow start. She now intends to focus on the 200 instead of
the 100 for the Athens Olympics.
am going to focus on the 200 metres in the future. My aim is the
2004 Olympics. I want the gold medal," she said.
Jayasinghe was second in her heat on Wednesday behind Viktoriya
Kouyreva, but should win gold. Her rivals include the Kazakh, who
won the heat, plus 100 silver medallist Uzbek Lyubov Perepelova and
India's Saraswati Saha, who also won her heat.
MAN TO BEAT
the men's 200 metres Japan's Shingo Suetsugu should be the man to
beat. The heir apparent to Koji Ito, who won the sprint double four
years ago in Bangkok, Suetsugu won his semi-final in 20.45 seconds
but has recorded sub-20 seconds in training.
The men's 5,000 metres looks more open. Asian champion Khamis
Abdullah Saifeldin of Qatar and experienced Japanese duo Toshihiro
Iwasa and Tomohiro Seto all have a chance of taking the gold
India have another gold medal prospect in the women's 1500 with
Sunita Rani, who made a triumphant return from injury this season
after two years out with a stress fracture.
Rani can get near her season's best of 4:08.60, close to her
national record of three years ago, she will be hard to beat.
China's Liu Xiaoping could also be among the medals.
Damayanthi Darsha should take gold for Sri Lanka in the 400 after
recovering from an injury that restricted her at the Commonwealth
Games and forced her out of the individual events in Colombo. She
has entered just the 400 and not the 200-400 double, which she won
Even a fully-fit Darsha would find it difficult to match the
smooth-running Indian K M Beenamol, who strolled to victory in the
800 on Tuesday. Beenamol has improved in the 400 and beat Darsha in
an Asian Grand Prix meet at the start of the season.
Peng Yun and Su Yiping should preserve China's supremacy in the
women's 100 hurdles. Japan's Asian champion Yvonne Kanazawa, the
national record holder and fifth in Bangkok, should get a
The men's decathlon concludes with the 110 hurdles, discus, pole
vault, javelin and 1500. Kazakhstan's Dimitriy Karpov leads after
the first five disciplines from China's 19-year-old Qi Haifeng and
Qatar's Ahmed Hassan Musa.
South Korea's Lee Jin-Taek, now 30 but still the best high jumper
in Asia since China's Zhu Jianhua, has had a poor season but will
be ready to take on the youngsters, including China's Cui Kai and
Song Aimin or Ma Shuli could add to China's gold tally in the
discus but India's Neelam Jaswant Singh may provide an upset,
though her record in competitions abroad has not matched her
performances at home.
the pool, world champion Guo Jing Jing and Chinese team mate Wu Min
Xia, who won gold in the three metres springboard synchronised
diving on Tuesday, will be clear favourites in the individual
Gold medals will also be up for grabs in canoeing, downhill
cycling, equestrian, modern pentathlon, weightlifting and
taekwondo, where South Korea will again be among the
Daily October 10, 2002)