Korea picks up 100th gold medal in Olympics
Men's fencing team defeats Romania 45-26 for Korea's 100th gold
Oh Jin-hyek grabs gold in men's individual archery, first individual title in Olympics
Korea claimed its 100th Olympic gold medal on Friday, as the men's sabre fencing team beat Romania for the country's ninth gold at the London Games.
The country's first Summer Olympics under its own flag was that in London here 64 years ago. It has since competed in 14 Summer Games before this year's Olympics and 15 Winter Games.
Korea has kept at third in medal standing with nine golds, two silvers and five bronzes, following China and the United States.
The Korean fencing team of Gu Bon-gil, Kim Jung-hwan and Won Woo-young, plus substitute Oh Eun-seok, beat Romania 45-26.
Earlier in the day, Oh Jin-hyek won the gold medal in men's individual archery at the London Olympics.
Oh defeated Takaharu Furukawa of Japan by the set score of 7-1 to become the first South Korean man to capture an individual archery Olympic gold.
In the individual competition, archers face off in a one-on-one knockout setting. Each shoots five sets of three arrows. A set win is worth two points and a tie is worth one point. And the first to garner six points wins.
There was not much suspense in the final, with Oh in command from the start. He took the opening set 29-26, and opened a 4-0 set score lead with another 29. Furukawa earned one point by matching Oh's 29 in the third set.
But the Japanese put two arrows in the 8 in the fourth set for 25, while Oh put up 28 and closed out the victory with his seventh 10 of the final.
Korea swept up three of four gold medals up for grabs in London; the women took both the individual and team titles, while the men won bronze in the team competition.
The medal haul here took Korea's gold medal count in Olympic archery to 19.
Oh said that as he waited for the final, he tried not to think too much about ending the country's gold medal drought in the men's individual event.
"I felt the thought of winning the gold would disrupt my preparation for the final," he said. "Now I have this gold. It's almost too good for me."
Oh's gold atoned for South Korea's disappointment at the team event, where the favored trio of Oh, Im Dong-hyun and Kim Bub-min lost to the U.S. in the semis and took home bronze. The three had earlier broken the world record for 216 arrows in the ranking round that determined their seeds.
Oh, as the elder statesman on the team at 30, wanted to make sure his teammates would bounce back for the individual event.
"After that bronze, I told them to hold their heads high and cheer up," Oh said. "I said we should go sweep the podium in the individual session."
It didn't work out that way. Top-seeded Im was gone after the round of 16 and Kim fell to Dai Xiaoxiang of China in the quarterfinals.
Dai almost knocked out Oh in the semis, too. They went to the one arrow shoot-off, where Oh's 9 edged Dai's 8.
Oh said the semifinal contest was more difficult for him. Twice, he had to dig out of a two-point deficit in the set score. He pulled even with a 29 in the fifth set as Dai shot a 27.
In the shoot-off, Oh was the first one to shoot. But despite the 9, he still wasn't sure if he'd win because Dai had been shooting well.
"I saw his arrow in midflight, and it made a sharp turn toward left," Oh said. "It must have been the wind. That's when I thought I was going to win."
Oh said making quick adjustment to the fickle winds at Lord's Cricket Ground was the major reason behind his relatively easy win in the final.
"In the semis, it took me some time to figure out the winds," he said. "In the final, I found my rhythm early and stayed with it the rest of the way." (LONDON=Yonhap)