Korea eyes 10 golds, top 10 medal standing at London Olympics
Korea has set its sights on the number 10 as it gears up for the London Olympics just one month away.
At least 10 gold medals and a top 10 medal standing are what the South Korean national team of more than 370 athletes aims to achieve with unprecedented support from the government.
South Korea has traditionally been a strong sporting nation based on exceptional performances in a handful of Olympic events, such as archery, badminton, judo and taekwondo.
The country has ranked in the top 10 in medals in six of the past seven Olympics, while at the 2008 Beijing Games, it broke its own previous Olympic record by winning 13 gold medals to be ranked seventh.
This year, for the first time in the nation's Olympic history, the government will open a training camp near the site of the Games, at London's Brunel University, from July 20 to Aug. 13.
The London Olympics are scheduled to take place from July 27 to Aug. 12.
This year's Olympic medal winners will also receive larger prize money than at the Beijing Olympics, with 18 million won (US$15,510) for those who win bronze, 30 million won for silver and 60 million won for gold.
"In order for Korea to keep its top 10 medal standing, we can't be beaten in competition against rival nations such as Japan, Ukraine, France and Italy," said Yu Jeong-hyeong, an official at the Olympic squad's National Training Center in Taeneung, northern Seoul. "July 28, the day after the opening ceremony, will be the most important day, as the finals for many of our most promising events, such as archery, swimming, judo, fencing and shooting, will be held on that day."
The South Korean martial art taekwondo is also expected to deliver strong results toward the end of the Games, Yu added.
South Korea is set to compete in 23 events, complete with star players including the likes of swimmer Park Tae-hwan and weightlifter Jang Mi-ran.
Park won the 2008 Olympic gold in the men's 400-meter freestyle and a silver in the 200-meter freestyle, while Jang also competed in the Beijing Games to win gold in the women's over-75-kilogram division. (Yonhap)