S Korea seeks marathoners
South Korea’s athletics boss is open to naturalizing foreign athletes to lift the marathon standard in the country, local media reported yesterday. Hwang Young-cho won the marathon gold for the country at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, while Lee Bong-ju bagged silver four years later in Atlanta. However, in recent years South Korean athletes have failed to replicate that success, prompting the Korea Association of Athletic Federations (KAAF) to look for ways of reviving the past glory. “I’ve had extensive discussions with experts in the field on how to revive our marathon,” KAAF chairman Oh Dong-jin was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency. “To help improve our national record, giving South Korean citizenship to foreign-born athletes is considered an option.” The time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 20 seconds set by Lee at the Tokyo Marathon in 2000 still stands as the country’s national record, something Oh was not pleased about. “In Kenya, I understand there are more than 3,000 marathoners who can clock about 2 hours, 10 minutes,” Oh said. “In South Korea, only Jeong Jin-hyeok is able to do about 2 hours, 9 minutes to 2 hours, 11 minutes, but others are well behind. We can’t compete internationally with that.”
Inter get extra-time win
Andrea Ranocchia scored in the last minute of extra-time to give Inter a 3-2 Italian Cup win over Bologna, whose fightback from two goals down proved in vain on Tuesday. Bologna had scored twice in the last 10 minutes of normal time to stun a sparse San Siro crowd in the quarter-final tie, after Fredy Guarin and Rodrigo Palacio had put Inter in control with long-range goals. Bologna suddenly came to life as Alessandro Diamanti pulled one back with a free-kick in the 80th minute and Manolo Gabbiandini equalized four minutes later, volleying in Marco Motta’s cross. Both teams could have won the game, with Javier Zanetti hitting the post for Inter and Bologna having several chances on the break, before Ranocchia headed in from a corner at the end of extra-time to earn Inter a semi-final against AS Roma or ACF Fiorentina.
Saint-Etienne in final
AS Saint-Etienne qualified for their first final in more than 30 years when they won their French League Cup semi-final against LOSC Lille Metropole on penalties after a 0-0 draw at home on Tuesday. Six-times French Cup winners Saint-Etienne, who already beat Paris Saint-Germain on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarter-finals, had not featured in a final since 1982. They are to face Stade Rennais or Montpellier Herault at Stade de France on April 20. St Etienne, who had the best chances throughout, were on the brink of being eliminated, but Lille’s midfielder Florent Balmont missed his penalty to keep them alive. They eventually won 7-6 after Idrissa Gueye’s attempt flew well above the crossbar.
Rogic to join Celtic
Young Australian playmaker Tomas Rogic is to leave the A-League to join Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic, his Central Coast Mariners team said yesterday. The 20-year-old midfielder, who recently made his international debut for Australia, had trials with the European club earlier this month at their mid-season training camp in Spain. “Central Coast Mariners FC wish to officially advise that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Tomas Rogic to Celtic FC,” the club said in a statement. Rogic had also been a target for English Premier League club Reading.