Wang, Kim determined to take on second Olympic challenge
By Jung Min-ho
The gold medal was almost in reach but the finals in Beijing four years ago gave both Wang Ki-chun and Kim Jae-bum a taste of what is like to miss out on the top spot at the Olympics.
The pain was excruciating, but the determination of the two judoka is now even greater. Intense training over the past four years has earned them a ticket for a second chance in London.
“The weight of responsibility that I feel is much greater than the one four years ago,” Wang said in an interview with The Korea Times. “I left much to be desired in the final match due to a rib injury from the quarterfinal.”
Despite competing with broken ribs, Wang showed gritty fighting spirit, winning two more matches to reach the final. However, the injury was eventually too much for him and he lost in the 73-kilogram final.
Kim suffered defeat in the 81 kilogram title match. Yet the failure has made him stronger and more mature. He has devoted the last four years to training but is more focused on that than worrying about the outcome in London.
“I know from my experience that it doesn’t matter how hard you try. In the end, the result is in God’s hands,” Kim said. “With that said, I’m not afraid to face what I’m going to end up with. Rather, I’m afraid of what makes the result, the process, since I know hard much I have to endure to get there. The pain is just indescribable.”
Japan may well present the biggest challenge for gold medal. The country is pinning its hope on a new generation who could bring the old glory back to the birthplace of judo. European countries like France, Germany, and Netherlands are also gearing up to make the Olympic competition even fiercer.
“I think the Japanese team has outstanding skills, while the Korean one has an edge in terms of spirit and endurance,” Kim said. “However, anything could happen in the competition. Especially in a tournament, one loss means you are out. So, I will keep a firm grip on myself in every single match.”
The Olympics is a personal challenge where the world’s best can test themselves.
“Although I appreciate the support, the competition is not for somebody else,” Kim said. “This is for me.”
When asked about his goal at the London Games, he hesitated.
“I cannot say for certain that I’ll come back with the gold. However, I can give you my word on that I will do my best to get there,” Kim said. “Please pray for me.”