By Yoo Jee-ho and Kim Boram
GUANGZHOU, China, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday became the Asian Games baseball champion once again, while continuing its dominance in taekwondo and fencing.
South Korean footballers advanced to the semifinals and the nation's Olympic gold medal-winning weightlifter finally got her first Asian Games gold medal.
The baseball team defeated Taiwan 9-3 in the gold medal match, reclaiming the Asian Games crown it lost four years ago.
Major League Baseball outfielder Choo Shin-soo had two hits and two runs batted in (RBI), but third baseman Kang Jung-ho carried the offense with two home runs and five RBI.
Pitchers Ryu Hyun-jin and Yoon Suk-min combined for 15 strikeouts. Yoon was credited with the win after five relief innings, and he said he was happy to have helped the team win.
"I had some back pains last night and received some treatment," Yoon said. "I am glad I didn't let the team down tonight. It makes it all worthwhile."
The victory carried an extra weight for Choo and 10 other players, because an Asian Games gold medal grants athletes exemptions from the mandatory military service.
Choo said he can now focus more on his major league career without worrying about his immediate future.
"A lot of fans and players have been concerned about my future and that led to great results here. It is an honor to wear the national flag and win the gold medal for my country."
As ball players swung their bats en route to gold, female weightlifter Jang Mi-ran won the women's over-75kg class.
Jang lifted 311 kilograms of weight on Friday, getting off her back a huge monkey that probably weighed even more.
In a career that includes four world championships and an Olympic gold medal, this was the first Asian Games gold for Jang. She has now completed the weightlifting equivalent of a "grand slam" as champion in the Summer Olympics, world championships and Asian Games.
Jang ranked third after snatch at 130kg. China's Meng Suping and Kazakhstan's Mariya Grabovetskaya hoisted 135kg.
But Jang outdueled both in clean and jerk, her usual forte. She lifted 175kg in the first of her three attempts and then 181kg in her second, reaching 311kg in total.
Grabovetskaya only had 155 in clean and jerk. Meng succeeded in 176kg in her second attempt to pull to a tie with Jang.
But the Meng weighed about 1 kg heavier than the Jang, meaning if they had the same total weight after snatch and clean and jerk, then Jang would be declared the winner under weightlifting's tie-breaking rule.
Meng signed up for 182kg in her final attempt but failed, handing Jang the elusive gold.
At this year's world championship in September, Meng beat Jang by 1 kg for silver. But it was the South Korean's turn Friday.
"I was nervous during the snatch and made some mistakes, but during clean and jerk, I tried to forget about those mistakes and got settled down," Jang said. "I tried not to miss my chances and stay focused."
Jang had a minor auto accident in January when a van rear-ended her sedan, and she has since been dealing with nagging back and shoulder pains.
She said Friday she was still hurting but her adrenaline rush during the competition made her forget about the pain.
"Now that it's all over, I am aching all over the place," Jang said. "I haven't been able to prepare the way I wanted. After I clinched the gold, I had tears in my eyes."
Jang, 27, said this was an important event for her for more than just the gold.
"I was able to pull it off at less than 100 percent," she said. "It has given me huge confidence and motivation as I get ready for the 2012 London Olympics."
South Korea extended its fencing dominance. World champion Nam Hyun-hee won the women's individual foil and Gu Bon-gil grabbed the men's individual sabre.
South Korea has so far scooped up all four gold medals up for grabs in fencing after two days of competition.
For Nam, the Olympic silver medalist in 2008, this was her second straight Asian Games title.
Taekwondo fighters also grabbed two more golds for South Korea. Lee Dae-hoon won the men's under-63kg title and Noh Eun-sil was the women's under-62kg champion.
After three days of taekwondo, the Korean martial art, South Korea has four golds.
South Korea advanced to the semifinals of men's football with a 3-1 win over Uzbekistan. But the much-anticipated inter-Korean showdown won't materialize after North Korea was eliminated from the quarters Friday.
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