|Sunday, 29 September 2002|
Asian Games official opening ceremony today
by DINESH WEERAWANSA reporting from South Korea
BUSAN: Sep. 28 - The stage is set for the Asian version of the Olympics - the 14th Asian Games which starts here with a spectacular opening ceremony in this beautiful harbour city here tomorrow (29). The Asian 'sports canival' which comes one in only four years is finally unfolding before 3.7 billion Asian people under the slogan of "New Vision, New Asia" at the Asiad Main Stadium here from 5.00 p.m. local time.
Sri Lanka will be fielding a 119-member contingent. The first batch comprising sailing and rowing teams arrived here on Wednesday and the second batch of 91 members including 15 athletes and 25 ruggerites arrived here this evening. Sri Lanka's NOC President, Hemasiri Fernando who arrived here yesterday took part in today's sessions of the Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly. South Korea comfortably launched their quest for a first Asian Games football gold for 16 years as dark horses China atoned for their World Cup woe with an easy win here Friday.
Korea's Under-23 team, fielding three members of the side which reached the World Cup semi-finals in June, played fitfully but were never troubled in dispatching the Maldives 4-0.
Goals from Choi Tae-Uk, after six minutes, Park Dong-Hyuk and skipper Lee Dong-Gook made the game safe for Korea before Ibrahim Sabah Mohamed scored an own goal in the dying minutes.
The Maldives were unable to register a single shot on target in the match and will struggle to fare any better in their remaining Group A matches against Oman and Malaysia.
Oman are second behind Korea in the standings after downing the Malaysians 1-0 courtesy of a 63rd-minute goal by Taki Mubarak Al-Siyabi in a stormy game that saw both sides finish with 10 men.
The most impressive performance of the day however came from China's youthful squad, who swatted aside a cynical Turkmenistan 4-0 in Group C. China, who are chasing their first footballing gold medal in the Asian Games, were in control from the outset, passing the ball around confidently and finding gaps in the Turkmenistan defence almost at will.
China's Group C rivals India meanwhile announced their entrance to the competition with a 3-0 win over Bangladesh.
Produced by Lake House