South Korean skater ‘very sorry’ after early celebration costs gold

Hangzhou (AFP): South Korean rollerskater Jung Cheol-won committed a cardinal sin of sport Monday by celebrating too early, with his “big mistake” costing his country an Asian Games gold medal.

Jung was left red-faced after being the anchor for his three-man team in the men’s 3,000m relay final at Qintang Roller Sports Centre.

Thinking he had easily beaten Huang Yu-lin, he eased up and raised his arms in celebration, only for the Taiwanese skater to lunge with his leg across the line first in 4min 05.692sec to win by one hundredth of a second.

“I made a rather big mistake. I didn’t come at full speed to the finish line. I let my guard down too early,” said a sheepish Jung.

“I am very sorry. I apologise to my teammates and to our fans who supported us.

“We all worked very hard together for this, and it’s all my fault.”

Taiwan’s Huang said it was a “miracle” that he won, with his coach drumming it into him that you never give up.

“I realised they were celebrating, but I wanted to tell them, while you were celebrating, I was still fighting,” he said.

“I wasn’t sure whether I had reached the finish line in time.

“I thought it was such a shame that I was just a little bit short, and then the results came up on the screen showing that I had won by one hundredth of a second, and it was just a miracle.”

Taiwan’s women rubbed salt in the wounds by winning their 3,000m relay final, also consigning South Korea to silver.