Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

Blind S. Korean archer sets world record

LONDON — South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun sees only blurred colors and lines when he peers toward the target about 76 yards away, arrow at the ready. It doesn't stop the legally blind Olympian from hitting the grapefruit-sized yellow center — again and again and again.

Im set the first world record of the Olympics on Friday, breaking his mark in the 72-arrow event and helping South Korea set a team record in the opening round. He broke the world record he set in May by three points with a score of 699, hours before the opening ceremony.

"This is just the first round, so I will not get too excited by it," said Im, who has 10 percent vision in his left eye and 20 percent in his right.

Im, 26, does not wear glasses in competition, saying he relies on distinguishing between the bright colors of the target. He won gold in the team event at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

France finished second in the team event, followed by China and the United States, which was ranked No. 1 going into the event. The gold-medal match is today.

The American women scored a surprising second-place finish to South Korea in the first round. They are ranked No. 6 in the world.

American Khatuna Lorig, competing in her fifth Olympics, finished fourth in the individual event. "The ranking round is just a practice," said Lorig, who coached Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence for the movie's archery scenes. "As a team it is going really well. There is great team spirit."

ticket trouble: Spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the archery action were turned away from Lord's cricket ground. Preliminary rounds were listed as nonticketed events, so several thousand people showed up expecting to get in for free. Tickets were not advertised or sold, and "we have always made it clear" the early competitions are not open for spectators, a spokeswoman for the London organizing committee said.

nbc already under fire: NBC drew a storm online for its decision not to stream the opening ceremony digitally, even though it is streaming every competition for the first time. The ceremony began at 4 p.m. EDT and was ending as NBC began its taped and edited coverage at 7:30.

The ceremonies "are complex entertainment spectacles that do not translate well online because they require context, which our award-winning production team will provide, NBC Sports spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. Many people took to Twitter to complain and provided online links to outlets that were streaming the ceremony live online.

asylum report denied: The Sudanese Embassy denied that one of its runners had applied for asylum in the United Kingdom, contradicting earlier reports. The male was reported to have appeared Tuesday night at a police station in the northern city of Leeds, the training camp base for several countries' teams, including the Sudan. The runner's name was not disclosed. A British government official confirmed the asylum request to the Associated Press. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said he knew of a reported request but had not independently verified it.

head scarf debate goes on: Talks were being held about whether a female judoka could compete for Saudi Arabia after the sport's governing body said she would not be allowed to wear a head scarf. Saudi Arabia, which sent its first two female athletes to the Games, had agreed to let them participate only if they adhered to the kingdom's conservative Islamic traditions, including wearing a head scarf. The federation said Thursday that the athlete would not be allowed to wear a head scarf because it was against principles of judo and raised safety concerns.

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