15 março 2010

Contestants 'Catch Ghosts' With Marines

Mr World 2010 contestants run on the beach carrying a rubber boat over their heads at Silmido Camp, Muui Island, Incheon, Monday. Of the 74 men vying to become ``the world’s most desirable man,’’ 20 were nominated to train with Korean Marines. /Korea Times Photo by Cho Young-ho

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

The Mr World competition is not just about finding the most muscular man in the world, but a truly modern, all-around one. Endurance is still nevertheless a desired trait, and the Mr World contestants underwent some strenuous tests of their physical stamina and mental agility.

The 74 men were split into four teams ― yellow, blue, red and black. Sunday morning, while the other groups toured Seoul, the yellow team headed to the beach for a rigorous session with the competition’s resident trainer, a British sergeant major.

After running the full length of the 4-kilometer beach and back, just as a warm-up, they had to alternate between sprints, circuit training, sit-ups and star jumps.

``The guys did well. We were all tired but in good spirits after an intense hour-long workout,’’ said Hareruya Konno, the 26-year-old model representing Japan. In the afternoon, the red team underwent their share of the pain with the sergeant major.

But if that seemed bad enough, 20 contestants ― five from each of the four groups ― were nominated for a faceoff with the Korean Marines, Monday.

These ``lucky’’ few had to wake up before sunrise and travel to Silmido Camp, located on Muui Island, for a session with the local marines. The marine forces on the peninsula are notoriously reputed for hellish training sessions with soldiers known for being able to ``catch ghosts.’’

``I’m looking forward to see what the marines can throw at us,’’ said Ivan Rusilko, the U.S. contestant who is representing the red team along with candidates from the Philippines, Russia, South Africa and Sweden.

On the beach the teams had to compete in a 500-meter race across the beach _ carrying a 100-kilogram boat on their heads. First the yellow team (France, Guadeloupe, Ireland, Kazakhstan and Kenya) defeated the blue (Angola, Belarus, Canada, Cyprus and Denmark) while the red beat the black (Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands and Norway). The red team won the final round against the yellow and was named Mr World Marine Champions.

Meanwhile the rest of the black and blue team members had their own team challenges with the resident trainer.

Visit the Mr World Web site (www.mrworld.tv) for more updates and stories.

A Glimpse of Silmido

Silmido Camp is named after Silmido, one of the numerous tiny islands scattered along the west coast of Incheon. The obscure, barren islet became a household name, however, due to the 2003 blockbuster film ``Silmido’’ by Kang Woo-suk.

The action flick is among a handful of local movies to be seen by over 11 million people (in a country with a population of just 48 million).

The film, starring top Korean actors Ahn Sung-ki and Sul Kyoung-gu, is based on a true story.

In 1968, North Korean spies tried to assassinate then-president Park Chung-hee. In response, the South Korean government formed a special ``black ops’’ task force ― ``Unit 684.’’

The 31 warriors of the unit were chosen from convicts, who were trained on the island for a mission to kill then-North Korean leader Kim Il-sung. Left in limbo amid consequent inter-Korean detente, the Silmido Unit rebelled on Aug. 23, 1971. A gun battle in Daebang-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, that afternoon, left most of the men dead.



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