South Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo (Gangwon Province) has a better chance of becoming the first swimmer in history to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the National Games for a third consecutive year.
That’s because teammate Kim Woo-min (Gangwon Provincial Office), who was considered a top contender, will not compete in the remaining events.
“This is the end of the competition,” Kim said at a press conference after winning gold with Hwang Sun-woo, Yang Jae-hoon and Kim Min-joon in the men’s 400-meter medley relay at the 104th Jeonnam National Championships at the Mokpo Indoor Pool in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, on Sunday. “I have decided not to compete in the remaining event, the 400-meter medley relay.”
As of Sunday, Hwang had secured three gold medals, with two events remaining: the 100-meter freestyle on Monday and the 400-meter medley relay on Tuesday.
Kim Woo-min, who has secured four gold medals, was expected to compete in the 400-meter medley relay with Hwang on Monday.
If Hwang Sun-woo won both of the remaining events and Kim Woo-min won one, they would be tied for five gold medals and the MVP race would be on.
However, Kim said, “My teammate Song Im-gyu has a better backstroke record,” and that “the standard is that the swimmer in the best shape should compete in the 400-meter medley relay, so I’m not competing.”
The medley relay is a team event in which four swimmers compete in one of four strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle.
Kim Woo-min gave up her spot in the event to her teammate, and the MVP award went to Hwang Sun-woo.
“The MVP is awarded to the athlete who shines the brightest,” Kim said, adding, “I’m rooting for Hwang Sun-woo.”
After receiving Kim Woo-min’s support, Hwang Sun-woo expressed his intention to win the MVP.
“I will definitely win two gold medals in the remaining two events to win five medals,” he said.
“I know that the MVP is voted on by the journalists,” he said, jokingly adding, “If I win the MVP (three times in a row), it will be the first time in history, so look at me pretty.”
If Hwang Sun-woo, who won the MVP award in 2021 and 2022, also wins the MVP award at the Games, he will become the first athlete in history to win the MVP award three years in a row.
It has been since the 61st Games in 1980 that the KOC has named the MVP of the National Games. In more than 40 years, no athlete has ever won MVP honors three years in a row.
The competition is not overwhelming. Although the favorite in the men’s high school diving, Choi Kang-in (Yul Gok-go), has won five gold medals, there is little competition for MVP due to the wide gap between the general and high school levels of diving.안전놀이터
There are also no significant Korean record breakers.
Hwang also expressed his desire to drive a wedge into the MVP race by posting a meaningful time in the 100-meter freestyle on Oct. 18.
“It’s hard to challenge the Korean record with my current physical condition, but I will race with all my strength,” he said.
Hwang suffered from food poisoning after eating the wrong food with Kim Woo-min and other teammates at the Gangwon Provincial Office before the tournament began.
He suffered from dehydration, an upset stomach, and a high fever and lost a lot of weight.
However, despite the difficulties, Hwang won gold medals in every event he competed in and is cruising to the MVP title.