Men’s track and field sprinting hopeful Lee Jae-sung (22, Korea Gymnastics University) has challenged veteran Korean sprinter Kim Kook-young (32, Gwangju Metropolitan Government).
Lee crossed the finish line in 20.70 seconds, the fastest time among the competitors, in the men’s collegiate 200-meter final at the 104th National Games at Mokpo Stadium in Jeonnam, South Jeolla Province, on Saturday.
The day before, he won the men’s collegiate 100 meters in 10.32 seconds.
Both his 100-meter and 200-meter times are collegiate records.
Speaking to Yonhap after the awards ceremony, Lee Jae-sung said, “After yesterday’s 100 meters, I continued my good form in the 200 meters today,” but added, “It’s too bad I couldn’t break the Korean collegiate record.”
The Korean collegiate record in the 200 meters is 20.68, set by Ko Seung-hwan (Gwangju Metropolitan Government) at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples. He missed the record by just 0.02 seconds.
More notably, Lee Jae-sung outperformed the seniors in the general category.
Kim Kook-young won the men’s 100 meters in 10.35 seconds, 0.03 seconds slower than Lee Jae-sung, and Ko Seung-hwan won the 200 meters in 20.76 seconds, 0.06 seconds slower.
Had Lee Jae-sung competed in the general category, he would have won two gold medals.
His bronze medal at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which concluded this month, helped him perform well at the national championships.
In Hangzhou, Lee joined Lee Jung-tae (Anyang City Hall), Kim Kook-young and Ko Seung-hwan to win bronze in the men’s 400-meter relay.
It was the first time Korean athletics had won an Asian Games medal in this event in 37 years, since Seoul 1986 (bronze).
Lee Jae-sung said, “I was competing at the national championships right after the big stage, and to be honest, I didn’t feel as nervous as I did in Hangzhou. I felt more relaxed and comfortable,” he said.
“I still remember the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line in Hangzhou and waved the flag,” he said, pointing to his left chest, where his heart is located. I wanted to feel this feeling again, and again, and again, and again, so I prepared harder, and I got this good result,” he laughed.
Now that Lee has graduated from college, he is joining the unemployment team.
He has already been confirmed to join the Gwangju City Athletics Team, which is known as a “sprinting powerhouse.
The team is led by Kim Kook-young, who has dominated Korean sprinting for over a decade.
For now, Lee has set his sights on surpassing Kim.
“I always run with the mindset that I want to beat him, but I haven’t yet,” he said, adding, “I will try my best to challenge him.”
In the meantime, Lee Jae-sung wants to stay by Kim Kook-young’s side and “absorb” everything he can.
“I want to learn everything from him, including how to take care of my body, my mental strength, and the techniques that have kept Korea’s No. 1 title for more than 10 years,” Lee said.
The challenge of the national championships is not over yet. On Sunday, he will try to win a triple in the men’s collegiate 400-meter relay.
“If we don’t make any mistakes with the baton, we will have a good result because our team is dominant,” Lee said. 스포츠토토