Veteran Taekwondo warriors aim for Yuzhong beauty in their final Asian Games.
South Korean men’s fencing sabre standout Koo Bon-gil, 34, will attempt to become the country’s all-time gold medalist at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. A sweep of the individual and team events would bring his total to seven Asian Games gold medals, moving him past Park Tae-hwan in swimming and Nam Hyun-hee in fencing (six). He would also become the first Korean athlete to win four consecutive individual titles.
Koo began his “golden streak” at Guangzhou 2010, winning three consecutive individual titles and two consecutive team titles at Incheon 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang 2018. “This could be my last Asian Games,” he said, “and I can set a lot of records, so I’ll work harder than in other competitions.”
Men’s archery’s living legend Oh Jin-hyuk, 42, is determined to make up for his ‘gold medal’ disappointment at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, saying “Hangzhou is really the last time”. He won back-to-back gold medals in the team event at Guangzhou 2010 and the individual event at Incheon 2014, but could only manage a silver in the team event in Jakarta. He is past his prime and his shoulder is not in good shape, but he is pulling the bowstring for a beautiful finish.
After representing South Korea in wrestling for more than a decade, the duo of Kim Hyun-woo and Ryu Hansu (both 35) will also use the Games to burn their final flame. Kim Hyun-woo, who won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics in a “bloodbath,” is eager to restore the sport to its former glory. “I feel responsible for the poor performance of the national wrestling team in recent international competitions,” he said, “and I will work hard to restore the pride of Korean wrestling.” Kim’s close friend Ryu Han-su also hopes to revive the “filial sport” by winning three consecutive Asian Games titles.
Kim Seo-young (29), the poster girl for women’s swimming, is also nearing the end of her career. Kim, whose main event is the 200-meter women’s individual medley, which consists of 50 meters of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, is the savior of South Korean swimming’s second consecutive gold medal. After the retirement of “Marine Boy” Park Tae-hwan, South Korean swimming failed to win a single gold medal at the 2014 Incheon Games, and at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, Kim’s 200-meter individual medley was the country’s only gold medal. “It might be my last Asian Games, so I will prepare to compete without any regrets,” said Kim, who will join former Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choi Yoon-hee, a gold medalist at the 1982 New Delhi and 1986 Seoul Games, as the first women to win back-to-back titles in 37 years.안전놀이터
In ball sports, many athletes have also announced their farewells. In men’s basketball, naturalized Korean player Ra Gun-ah, 34, is competing in his second consecutive Asian Games. As the first pure foreigner to wear the flag for the national basketball team, he is a key under-the-basket resource who is irreplaceable, even if his game isn’t what it used to be. Men’s volleyball’s Han, 37, is also in his late 30s and has been selected as a firefighter to save the team in crisis.