Jun won yesterday’s 2009 Daegu International Marathon (Sun 12) igniting hopes that Korea has found a possible hero to challenge for a medal at the IAAF World Championships, Daegu 2011.
On Sunday Jee broke away from the lead group midway through the Marathon and dominated the race from there. His winning time of 2:08:30 eclipsed his personal best by 13 seconds. Kiprotich Kenei from Kenya came in second (2:10:00), one second ahead of his compatriot Samson Kiprono Barmao.
Jee will now focus his attention on the Korean national record of 2:07:20, which was established by 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games silver medallist and 2001 Boston Marathon winner Lee Bong-Ju.
Jee is by no means a new name. The national record holder for 5000m on the track (13:49.99 – 2006) with a PB of 28:57.16 for 10,000m (2006), set his previous career best for the marathon when finishing second in the 2003 Dong-A Marathon in Seoul in 2:08:43. He later disappointed with a 53rd place finish at the World championships of that year in Paris (2:20:21).
In 2004, Jee was sixth in the Dong-A Marathon in Seoul coming close to his PB in a time of 2:08:54, and followed that up with a creditable 16th place finish in the Athens Olympic marathon with a time of 2:16:14.
While finishing in seventh place in 2006 Asian Games Marathon, Jee had not been able to run under 2:10 since 2004, and so yesterday’s race in Daegu marked an impressive return to form.
Yeshi Esayias from Ethiopia, who won this year’s Marrakech Marathon in her PB of 2:29:52 (25 Jan 2009) was the victor in the women’s competition in Daegu (2:30.44), while 38-year-old Korean Yoon Seon-Sook emerged a surprise second place (2:32.04).
More than 12,000 enthusiastic athletes and citizens participated in the Marathon; the boisterous atmosphere at the Daegu Stadium, the stadium which will host the 2011 IAAF World Championships, bringing about a pleasant change to an otherwise typical tranquil Sunday morning in Daegu.
“I am delighted to see that this race [was] organised on exactly the same course that will be used for the World Championship event in 2011,” stated IAAF President Lamine Diack in his congratulatory message to the organizers.
“This is a great way to help promote not only the Marathon but the Championships as a whole to the people of Daegu and of course, it also means that athletes can get the chance to test themselves on the exact course in the years leading up to the World Championships.”
The 2009 Daegu International Marathon was also significant for being broadcasted ‘live’ on the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). KBS is the largest public broadcaster in Korea and will be the Host Broadcaster of the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
Daegu Mayor KIM Bum-Il was among the dignitaries who flagged off the Marathon. Upon witnessing Jee’s victory, Mayor Kim expressed his strong optimism that the Korean national flag (“Tae-guk-gi”) will also be proudly flown up high at the award ceremony for the marathon during the World Championships.
A post-event questionnaire was distributed to the participating professional athletes. The Daegu 2011 LOC is hopeful that the feedback provided would be useful in improving the course and providing the best possible conditions for future editions of the Daegu International Marathon and the World Championships.
This year’s Marathon featured the full 42.196km race and a 10km. It was very much a family affair, with fireworks, free balloons, and participants dressing up in colourful costumes.
Daegu 2011 for the IAAF
1 JEE (Ji) Young-Jun, Korea 2:08:30
2 Kiprotich Kenei, Kenya 2:10:00
3 Samson Kiprono Barmao, Kenya 2:10:01
4 Chala Lemi, Ethiopia 2:10:01
5 Joseph Kiptum, Kenya 2:10:07
6 Nicholas Kipkorir Chelimo, Kenya 2:10:13
7 Kimani Michael Njuroge, Kenya 2:10:30
8 Geoffrey Kiprono Mutai, Kenya 2:10:45
1 Yeshi Esayias, Ethiopia 2:30:44
2 YOON Seon-Sook, Korea 2:32:04
3 Joyce Jepchumba Koech, Kenya 2:35:09
4 Wang Xuequin, China 2:36:00
5 Elizabeth Jeruiyot Cemweno, Kenya 2:36:24
6 Luciah Miwihaki Kimani, Bosnia-Herzegovina 2:38:50
7 Samira Raif, Morocco 2:39:01
8 JUNG Hae-Jung, Korea 2:41:18