The Asian Games, also known as Asiad is a continental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. To celebrate this year’s event which start on 18th August #OnThisWeek takes a look at some Asiad athletes born during the week in bygone years.
The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation. The Games are recognized by the IOC and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games. In its history, nine nations have hosted the Asian Games. Forty-six nations have participated in the Games, including Israel, which was excluded from the Games after their last participation in 1974. The 2018 Asian Games, officially known as the 18th Asian Games and also known as Jakarta Palembang 2018, is a pan-Asian multi-sport event scheduled to be held from 18th August to 2nd September 2018 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. For the first time, the Asian Games are being co-hosted in two cities; the Indonesian capital of Jakarta (which is hosting the Games for the first time since 1962), and Palembang, the capital of the South Sumatra province. Events will be held in and around the two cities, including venues in Bandung and province of West Java and Banten. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Games will be held at Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta. Also for the first time, eSports and canoe polo will be contested as a demonstration sports. eSports will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games.
Japanese athlete Shizo Kanakuri was born on this day in 1891, a native of Tamana, Kumamoto and attended the University of Tsukuba. During the November 1911 domestic qualifying trials for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, although the length of the course was probably only 40km (25 miles), Shizo was reported to have set a marathon world record at 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds. He was thus selected as one of the only two athletes that Japan could afford to send to the event. He had a difficult 18-day long trip to reach Stockholm for the 1912 Olympics. After travelling by ship and Trans-Siberian-Railway he had to rest for five days to be able to run the marathon. After 30km of the Olympic marathon, he reportedly felt ill and stopped at a house and asked for a glass of water. The residents gave him some water and still feeling unwell he fell asleep awakening the next morning. Ashamed of his actions, he quietly returned home without notifying race officials. Swedish authorities considered him missing for 50 years before discovering that he was living in Japan and had competed in subsequent Olympic marathons. In 1967, he was contacted by Swedish Television and offered the opportunity to complete his run. He accepted and completed the marathon in 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, therefore having the “slowest” ever Olympic finishing time! He remarked at the time – “It was a long trip. Along the way, I got married, had six children and 10 grandchildren. Despite this setback, he was selected to participate in the 1916 Olympics, which were subsequently cancelled due to World War I. However, he did compete in the 1920 Games held in Antwerp , where he finished the marathon in 2 hours, 48 minutes and 45.4 seconds and placed 16th. He also participated in the 1924 Olympics, where he failed to finish the race. Shizo is also known for his role in establishing the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon in 1920m which from 2004, the top prize in this race was named in his honour. He died at the age of 92 on 13th November 1983 at his hometown of Tamana in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Thai cyclist Preeda Chullamondhol, born today in 1945 was a legendary figure in his home country. He studied in Wat Preechakul School, in Prachinburi Province before he went to Bangkok to further his education in Wat Borwonivet School at the age of 14. “It was at that time that I saw the students cycling in groups amongst themselves and I wanted to be a part of it” He saved up and bought himself a bike and became a member of the school’s bicycle club. Everyday at 6 am he would cycle from his home in Sapan Kwai to Ban Phu and then ride back home to take a bath before riding to school. On average he would cycle 70-80 km, enabling him to win the many prizes. It was not until the 1st Laemthong Cycling Race that he saw his countrymen receiving their gold medals who became an inspiration to him. He worked hard and a the age of 16 in 1959 he won a place on the National Team and competed in the 2nd 1968 Southeast Asian Games held in Burma. At that time he was the fastest sprinter in the group but the coaches felt that he was just too young and put him in the reserve team instead. By 1962, he was considered old enough for the first team for the 4th Asian Games held in Indonesia, where he won a silver medal. In 1963 he won his first gold in the National Team in the Asian Championship in Malaysia. At the age of 19, already famous at home, he increased his notoriety when he competed in the 1000m time trail at the 1964 Olympics. When Thailand had the opportunity to host the Asian games in 1966 Preeda began to train extra hard, which paid off as he made history by being the first Thai and Asian to 4 gold and two silver medals. Up to now no one has been able to achieve the same. In the following year at the 4th Sierra Sport Cup games held in Laem Thong, Preeda was triumphant once again winning 7 gold medals. That year having reached what he thought was a saturation point in his life, he retired, at the age of 22, after having spent six years with the National Team. After retiring from cycling he still had the passion for speed and went on to competing on motorcycles on the international circuit. He is also the founder of Grand Prix magazine in Thailand and from publishing also went to producing the TV programme “Motor Week.” He also played a part in the famous Thai film “Behind the Painting” in the role of the father of the leading actress. In 1976 he had the opportunity to get involved with cycling once again when a businessman invited him to create and produce the Preeda Bicycle brand. This is the only brand in Thailand which brands a bicycle under an athlete’s name, but this lasted for only 4 years, being an athlete and not a businessman the business did not profit and folded, but today the “Preeda Bicycle” is much sought after by bicycle lovers and collectors. Preeda once said “nowadays cycling has advanced a lot, with the aid of sports science riders can now better their statistics but this was not available back in the days. There are sponsors to support them but the government should also give more support. As for the athletes they must also look after themselves well and not only be interested in the fame and fortune. Do not play sports to profit in the prize money, play the sport based on the passion from one’s heart.” Throughout Preeda kept himself associated with cycling as he coached and also managed teams to compete internationally such as the SEA Games, Asian Games and other competitions. He later was Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Thailand Cycling Association. On 28th March 2010 Preeda passed away at the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok.
Kim A-lang, born today in 1995 is a South Korean short track speed skater. Kim made her debut on the international stage with two gold medals and one silver medal at the 2013 World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships, finishing second in the overall ranking. Kim was part of the short track speed skating team in the 3000m relay that won a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Four years later, she won another gold in the relay at the 2018 Winter Olympics, where she also set her 1000m PB of 1:29.212 on 22nd February.
Japanese badminton player Kaori Mori was born on this day in 1979 in Fukuoka Prefecture. She was the women’s singles national champion in 2001 and 2003. Kaori won the bronze medal at the 2004 Asian Championships and also the silver medals in 2005 and 2006. She played badminton at the 2004 Olympics, defeating Anu Weckström of Finland in the first round but losing to Zhou Mi of China in the quarter finals. She also helps the Japanese women’s team to win bronze at the 2004 Uber Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Born in Naawan, Misamis Oriental today in 1938, was the versatile athlete Lolita Lagrosas. She was an excellent jumper, hurdler, sprinter and thrower, which paved the way for her to attend the Far Eastern University in Manila who gave her a scholarship. The five foot four and a half Lolita won three medals in her favourite event, the high jump, at the 1958 Tokyo Asiad (silver), 1966 Bangkok (silver) and 1970 Bangkok (bronze). Also at the 1966 and 1970 Bangkok Asiads, she won a pair of bronzes in the Pentathlon. At the Taipei Dual Meet in 1965, she won three golds. Lolita was also a two-time Olympian, having competed in the jumping and pentathlon events at the 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico Olympics. After retiring from competitive athletics, she became the head coach at DLSU Manila before retiring in 2004. She also coached at St Scholastic where among her athletes were Cherry Ann Janiva and SEA Games Decathlon bronze medallist Edward Obiena
South Korean badminton player Jung Jae-sung was born on this day 1982. He started playing badminton at 7 and was picked for the South Korea national badminton team in 2001. In 2000, Jung was part of the Korean national junior team competed at the World Junior Championships in Guangzhou, China, and Asian Junior Championships in Kyoto, Japan. In Guangzhou, he won the mixed team bronze after his team lose 2–3 to China, and in Kyoto, he won the boys’ doubles silver and boys’ team bronze. In 2003, Jung, who represented Wonkwang University won the men’s doubles title at the National Championships in Gyeonggi partnered with Lee Jae-jin. In 2004, they retained their title, and in 2006, Jung repeated his success partnered with Lee Yong-dae. The following year he won the Thailand Open with his former partner Lee Jae-jin. At the Asian Games, Jung and Lee became bronze medallists after losing the semi-finals and in the team event, South Korea lost to China in the final 2-3, thus gaining Jung a silver medal.Jung participated to the 2007 Sudirman Cup with the South Korea team. The team lost to China in the semi-finals with a score of 0-3. In July, after a period of disappointing results in men’s doubles, Lee became runner-up with Jung at the Thailand Open. To start 2008, Jung, together with Lee, lost to an unseeded pair in the second round of the Malaysia Open. In Korea, things went a bit better, achieving a quarter final place but losing to runners-up Luluk Hadiyanto and Alvent Yulianto of Indonesia. More than a month later, Jung and Lee came back with a bang to win the All England Open, a week later, the pair were victorious in the Swiss Open too. At the Asian Championships Jung and Lee won gold, beating Candra Wijaya and Nova Widianto of Indonesia in the final. In November, Jung also won the 2008 China Open Super Series. Not having participated in the two following Super Series events, supposedly because of their preparations for the Summer Olympics, Jung and Lee were disappointingly knocked out in the first round in Beijing. His partner went on to get the gold medal in mixed doubles. At the London Olympics, Jung, together with Lee, won the men’s doubles bronze medal. The pair who were seeded two, advanced to the knock-out stage after placing first, won three matches in group D stage. They lost the match in the semi-final match against Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, and in the bronze medal match, they beat the Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in straight games. That was Jung’s final tournament. On 9th March 2018, Jung died of a heart attack at the young age of 35.
Yang Yilin born today in 1992 in Huadu, Guangzhou, Guangdong is a Chinese gymnast. She is the 2008 Olympic around bronze medallist and a member of the gold medal winning Chinese Olympics gymnastics team. In 2007, Yang was a member of the Chinese team for the World Championships. She won two medals: a silver with the Chinese team, and an individual bronze on the uneven bars. She also placed sixth in the all-around. Yang was also the all-around gold medallist at the 2007 Intercity Games, a national multi-sport event for teenagers aged 13 to 15 in China. In the spring of 2008, she led the Guangdong team to gold at the Chinese National Championships and claimed individual medals in the all-around, uneven bars, and floor exercise. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Yang won her bronze medal in the individual all-around with a score of 62.650. In 2009 and 2010, Yang represented China at the World Championships. She won a bronze medal with the team in 2010. However during the Beijing Olympics, it wasn’t Yang’s performances but rather her age that made the news. Along with several other team mates, she was suspected of being too young to compete at the Games. A minimum age of 16 was required to compete in the Olympics, but prior to the Games, reports where found that Yang would be at most 14-years-old. Though initially ignored by officials, further evidence led the IOC to ask the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to investigate the entire Chinese team. FIG concluded its investigations a month after the Games, reporting that it was unable to find fault with any of the officially reported birth dates of the Chinese gymnasts. This meant that Yang was allowed to keep the three medals she won in Beijing.
During the Beijing Olympics, it was’t Yang Yilinâ’s performances (though noteworthy), but rather her age that made the news. Along with several other team mates, she was suspected of being too young to compete at the Games. A minimum age of 16 was required to compete in the Olympics, but prior to the Games, reports where found that Yang would be at most 14-years-old. Though initially ignored by officials, further evidence led the IOC to ask the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) to investigate the entire Chinese team. FIG concluded its investigations a month after the Games, reporting that it was unable to find fault with any of the officially reported birth dates of the Chinese gymnasts. This meant that Yang was allowed to keep the three medals she won in Beijing. After having earned the gold in the team all-around, she had added bronze in the individual all-around. She led after the qualification for the uneven bars, but dropped to third in the final, behind [He Kexin], who was also suspected of being underage. Outside of the Olympics, Yang has won three World Championships medals, one on the uneven bars (bronze, 2007), and two with the team. She is also an Asian Games champion (team, 2010), and in 2007 won the Chinese all-around title.