S. Koreas new gold mine: fencing
By Yoon Chul
South Korea has done much better than expected in the medal race with five days still remaining before the closing ceremony of the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
The shooters have collected the most gold medals: 13 of the 44 with four more gold medal matches taking place from today.
While it is perhaps an exaggeration to say that the Korean shooters dominated the Asiad, the Korean fencers certainly overwhelmed their opponents in matches at the Guangda Gymnasium.
So far the Korean fencers have acquired six gold, one silver and three bronze medals in eight events. And the Korean squad is still a strong contender for the four remaining medals.
How have the Korean fencers come to dominate Asia?
“In order to see better results in a big competition, we should train more than other squads,” Korean fencing team head coach Kim Yong-ryul said.
For the Asian Games the domestic fencers prepared for more than one year. They practiced at least 10 hours on weekdays. On the weekends the athletes continued to train laong with the coaching staff while staying at the National Training Center to enhance their mental powers.
“We spent a huge amount of time focusing on physical strength in order to overcome our weakness in hardware,” Kim said.
The national team also picked seven or eight fencers for each event and cut the number down to four before the Asiad. And the coaching staff never revealed who was to be selected to sustain the competitive mood to the very end.
The national team’s shining results at the Asiad follows the spectacular performances at the World Fencing Championships where they earned one gold and three bronze medals.
The national team also headed to a military camp to further boost the mental strength of the fencers and the squad improved by competing in many international events.
“Our first goal was winning four gold medals at the Asian Games. We have already exceeded our aim,” the fencing head coach said.
“With four events left, I expect at least one more gold,” added Kim.
Korea has already advanced to final in the men’s team sabre and the semifinal in the women’s team foil.