London Olympics 2012 - South Korea aims 10 gold medals at London Olympics

London Olympics 2012 - South Korea aims 10 gold medals at London Olympics

South Korea aims to capture more than 10 gold medals for a top-10 finish in the London Olympics, with hopes running high after the country's superlative performance at the last 2008 Beijing Games.

South Korea collected 13 golds in Beijing four years ago for a total of 31 medals and finished seventh in the medals table.

Around 250 South Korean athletes are expected to compete in the London Olympics July 27-Aug 12, Xinhua reported.

Among the athletes eagerly waiting for their chance to shine at the world's biggest sporting event, weightlifting champion Jang Mi-ran and swimming star Park Tae-hwan will seek to defend their 2008 gold medals.

Jang, the 28-year-old female lifter, won the gold medal in the over-75 kg division with a new world record by lifting 140 kg in the snatch and 186 kg in the clean and jerk.

However, Jang had to watch her world records broken by fierce contenders while she was battling with injuries and struggling to remain in form after the Beijing Olympics. Russia's Tatiana Kashirina now holds the world record in the snatch at 148 kg, while China's Zhou Lulu has the world mark in combined total at 328 kg.

Jang raised expectations for another Olympic gold medal in London after she became the first athlete to win the national championships nine times in a row last year.

Park Tae-hwan became a national sensation after he won the country's first ever Olympic swimming gold in the men's 400-metre freestyle final in Beijing.

However, Park failed to reach any stages of the finals at the World Championships in 2009. Brushing off worries, Park bounced back to win three gold medals at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. In 2011, he successfully retained his 400m freestyle title at the Shanghai Worlds.

Park will compete in the 200m and 400m freestyle in London.

Japan aims for top five finish at London Olympics

Japan is aiming for a top five finish at the London Olympics 2012 with its athletes fired up in an effort to rewrite the country's history in the Games.

Securing a place in the top five means Japan will have to win at least 15 gold medals.

Last time in Beijing, Japan only got nine gold medals and finished eighth. Japan's Olympic Committee this time have geared up for its new target and prepared a lot, including widening the athletes' age range.

Japan's two-time double Olympic champion, 29-year-old Kosuke Kitajima, earlier this month secured his fourth appearance in the Games, winning his qualifying race at the national swimming championships in Tokyo.

Kitajima said he gained more confidence as he improved his personal best record, but "it's not enough to compete against the top swimmers in the world, I'll do my best to improve further", he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Japan men's marathon team has also been finalized and will be made up of Arata Fujiwara, Ryo Yamamota and Kentaro Nakamoto.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) earlier announced its latest medals prediction for this summer's London Olympics, saying Japan will rank eighth with 11 gold medals.

The ranking, which is different than Japanese Olympic Committee's own target, was made based on results in Olympic sports, world championships and other major competitions in 2011.

The prediction said Japan will win gold medals in men's hammer throw, gymnastics, judo and wrestling.

Also, Japan women's football team, which just won the Women's World Cup in 2011 for the first time, was a potential gold medal winner.

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