Korean sports stars of diverse sports including baseball, soccer, golf and ssireum (traditional Korean wrestling) will stage races en masse during the Choseok holiday.
In the Korean pro baseball league, Kim Jae-hwan (30) of the Doosan Bears and Park Byeong-ho (32) of the Nexen Heroes will compete to become the homer king as left-handed and right-handed batters, respectively. As of Thursday, Kim had 42 and Park 40 home runs as they continued a tight race. When only considering the number of games left, Kim with four games to play is in a more advantageous situation than Park. However, there is a chance that Park could come from behind to win the race over the holiday period as he could display his instinct of ‘homer spree’ as evidenced by his jump to No. 2 in overall homers even after taking leave for more than a month due to an injury in the early days of the season.
With the Pennant Race fast approaching the finale, LG, Kia and Samsung are engaged in a fierce competition to secure the No. 5 spot. With Kia (ranked sixth) having gained ground to tie with LG (ranked fifth) in the overall number of wins and losses as of Thursday, the seventh-ranked Samsung is chasing after the other two teams by a deficit of only two games. Since LG has games on Saturday and Sunday and Kia will face off KT on Tuesday and Wednesday, the lowest-ranked team in the league will likely serve as a casting vote for choosing between the two teams.
Doosan has reduced its “magic number” required to secure the championship to just five as of Thursday. Doosan manager Kim Tae-hyeong aims to secure the No. 1 spot early on during the holiday, before starting to prepare for the Korean Series during the remaining period of the regular season.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (31) will play a game on Monday to seek his sixth win of the season. Ryu currently has five wins and three losses and an ERA of 2.18, as he is gearing up to start in a home game against the San Diego Padres at the Dodgers Stadium. Ryu pitched seven innings without giving any run in the game against Colorado on Tuesday, and hence was lauded as “Big Game Pitcher” by watchers in the U.S. league. Attention is focusing on whether Ryu will be able to lower his ERA to the one-point level through the upcoming game.
Son Heung-min (26), a Tottenham Hotspur player in the English Premier League, will seek his first goal of the season at an away match against Brighton on Sunday. Son has played tirelessly throughout this year. He participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the pre-season matches, the opening match of the EPL, and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, before serving as member of Team Korea in A matches in September. Currently, Tottenham is struggling to overcome a three-game losing streak. Attention is focusing on whether the Korean player will score his first goal of the season to terminate his team’s losing streak.
Ki Sung-yueng (29) of New Castle is gearing up to play in a game against Crystal Palace on Saturday. In the secondary league of the German Bundesliga, a “Korean Derby” will likely take place. Bochum FC, the home of Lee Chung-yong (30), and Holstein FC, the home of Lee Jae-seong (26), will have a showdown in Kiel, Germany on Saturday.
The OK Savings Bank Park Se-ri Invitational of the Korean LPGA Tour, which will take place in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, will feature a race prominent golfers such as Park Sung-hyun (25), who is currently ranking No. 1 in the world, Shin Ji-yae (30), who was the first Korean pro golfer to rank No. 1 in the world.
The Chuseok Top Wrestlers (Ssireum) Meet, a signature sport of the Korean holidays, will take place in Mungyeong Gymnasium in North Gyeongsang Province from Friday to Wednesday. In the Baekdu weight category dubbed the “jewel of ssireum,” Jang Seong-bok (38, Yangpyeong County Office), Kim Jin (29, Jeungpyeong County Office), and Lee Seul-gi (31, Yeongam County Ssireum Team) will stage a three-way race, vying to win the championship.