Stars of Asiad

(Asiad) Opening ceremony to feature top S. Korean sports stars

2014/09/18 15:20

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- A who's who of South Korean sports will be on hand as torch and flag bearers for the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games, organizers said Thursday.

The organizing committee for the Incheon Asiad said in a news release that active and retired athletes will carry the Asian Games torch toward the cauldron.

The first one to do the legwork is the baseball slugger Lee Seung-yuop of the domestic club Samsung Lions. He holds the single-season record in the top flight Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) with 56 home runs from his monumental 2003 season. This year, at age 38, he became the oldest KBO player to hit more than 30 homers in a season. He is the league's career leader in the long ball department with 388.

Lee will hand the torch over to LPGA Tour star Park In-bee, the five-time major champion and the 2013 LPGA Player of the Year.

The next bearer will be Lee Kyou-hyuk, who recently retired from speed skating after competing in six Winter Olympics, a South Korean record.

The fourth bearer will be former basketball star Park Chan-sook, who helped South Korea win bronze at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Tennis star Lee Hyung-taik, the only South Korean to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam event, is the next to carry the torch.

Lee is to hand it over to two junior athletes, according to the organizing committee.

The identity of the final torch bearer to light the cauldron remained under wraps on Thursday. The committee only said the person, "beloved across Asia," has promoted South Korean traditions and culture around the world and has contributed to bringing the continent together through volunteerism.

Before the lighting of the torch, eight former athletes will carry in the Asiad flag, including former weightlifter Jang Mi-ran and ex-table tennis star Hyun Jung-hwa, both Olympic gold medalists.