Olympic archers head to Hangzhou Asian Games to represent Korea

An San shoots her arrow on Thursday during the second Korean national archery squad qualification match for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games held at Wonju Archery Field in Wonju, Gangwon. [YONHAP]

Five Olympic archery gold medalists – Kang Chae-young, An San, Kim Woo-jin, Oh Jin-hyek and Kim Je-deok – will be heading to the Hangzhou Asian Games to represent Korea.

Four men – Kim Woo-jin, Oh Jin-hyek, Kim Je-deok and Lee Woo-seok – and four women – Kang, An, Lee Ga-hyun and Choi Mi-sun – will compete in the recurve events. These Asian Games will be a first for Kim Je-deok, An and Lee.

Another four men and four women will compete in the compound events at the Asian Games.

Unlike the Olympics, the Asian Games do hold compound competitions. Compound archers use a slightly different bow and shoot at a closer distance than recurve archers. Kim Jong-ho, Yang Jae-won, Choi Yong-hee and Kang Dong-hyeon will compete in the men’s compound events while Kim Yun-hee, Song yun-soo, So Chae-won and Oh Yoo-hyun will compete in the men’s compound events. women’s compound events.

Korea is sending eight archers each for the recurve and compound events, but only two archers will be able to contend for the individual medal while three archers compete for the team medal. The ranking round of the Asian Games will determine who actually gets to compete for the Asian medal. The top archer of each gender will be able to compete in the individual event, mixed event and team event.

All eyes are on An, the first-ever three-time archery Olympic gold medalist, as she will be heading to her first-ever Asian Games.

Winning three gold medals was not the only history An made at the 2020 Tokyo Games. A week before winning her third gold medal, An shattered a 25-year-old Olympic record by posting a score of 680 in the women’s individual ranking round. A day later, An, alongside Kim Je-deok, became the first winners of the inaugural Olympic mixed team archery event.

That victory gave the two the chance to become the first archers ever to win three gold medals at one Olympics, if they could also win their respective team and individual events as well. Korea did go on to win both the men’s and women’s team events, but Kim Je-deok was unable to pass the 16th round in the men’s individual event.

An went all the way, making history with three golds. This was the 20-year-old’s first time competing in the Olympics.

Kim Je-deok will also be heading to his first-ever Asian Games. Kim Je-deok won two gold medals at the Tokyo Games, the mixed team gold alongside An and the men’s team gold alongside Kim Woo-jin and Oh.

Kim Woo-jin heads to the Hangzhou Asian Games as the defending champion, after winning the men’s individual recurve gold medal at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Kim Woo-jin has three Asiad gold medals and one silver medal.

Oh has two gold, one silver and one bronze Asiad medals. Oh will be looking to repeat his success from 2014 when he won the Incheon Asiad individual gold medal.

Lee Woo-suk, who qualified for the Hangzhou Asian Games last, is the men’s individual recurve silver medalist from the Jakarta Asian Games.

Korea dominates archery at the Asian Games with 42 gold medals, far ahead of Japan’s second-place eight. Korea’s dominance in archery on the international stage is fueled by how competitive the sport is domestically, with the Korean national archery squad qualifications said to be one of the most competitive events in the sport globally.

All archers, regardless of their current rank or career medals, compete on a level playing field at the national team qualifications. The entry list is based solely on their shots made during the qualifying season. As a result, different archers often represent Korea at international events like the Olympics or the Asian Games.

The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games will begin Sep. 10 and will end on Sep. 25.

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]

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