South Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo (20-Gangwon Provincial Government) won his fifth consecutive National Games title and was named the tournament’s first three-time Most Valuable Player (MVP). Gyeonggi Province won its second straight title.
Hwang joined Song Im-kyu, Choi Dong-yeol and Yang Jae-hoon in the 400-meter medley relay final of the men’s general category at the 104th National Championships at the Mokpo Indoor Pool in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, where they won gold in a meet record time of 3:36.50, beating the Incheon team (3:44.34).
After suffering from food poisoning on the 12th, the day before the opening ceremony, with a high fever, upset stomach, and body aches, Hwang Sun-woo lost about 5 kilograms of weight in two days, but he continued to perform “golden backstroke” for five consecutive days, winning the 800-meter freestyle relay on the 15th, the 200-meter freestyle on the 16th, the 400-meter freestyle relay on the 17th, and the 100-meter freestyle relay on the 18th, the closing day of the competition.
Hwang received 57 out of 63 votes in the journalists’ poll at the end of the day, beating teammate Kim Woo-min (2 votes) by a landslide. He also received a prize of 5 million won. This is the first time the MVP has won three consecutive awards since the 61st edition in 1980.
Hwang Sun-woo first won MVP honors at the 2021 event, which was shortened to a high school competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when he won five medals while at Seoul Chego. Last year, when he competed in the general category, he was disqualified in the 400-meter medley relay for a teammate’s false start and lost his second straight MVP award.안전놀이터
“It’s too much to say that I surpassed Park Tae-hwan,” Hwang said, “but I feel like I’ve made a mark as a swimmer despite the bad luck, so I’m proud of myself.”
Moon Gun-young (Gwangju Chego), who is expected to be the “second Yang Hak-sun” in the men’s high school men’s artistic gymnastics, won his second consecutive all-around title and a tournament-high seven medals. Four other athletes won five medals, including Hwang Sun-woo, Kim Seo-young (Gyeongbuk Provincial Office) in the women’s general swimming, Heo Yeon-kyung (Bangsan High School) in the women’s high school swimming and Choi Kang-in (Yulgok High School) in the men’s high school diving.
Gyeonggi Province won 147 gold, 128 silver and 149 bronze medals for a total of 64,856 points (total score + medal points), comfortably beating out second-place Seoul (53,042 points – 101 gold, 106 silver and 123 bronze) and topping the overall standings for the second consecutive year. It is their 32nd overall victory, including 17 consecutive years from 2002 to 2018. Meanwhile, next year’s national championships will be held in Ilwon, Gyeongnam.