After 16 days of intense competition at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, the Korean athletes have all returned to Korea.
More than 50 members of the Korean team, including the Breaking and Artistic Swim teams, as well as the President of the Korean Sports Federation, Lee Ki-heung, returned home through Incheon Airport on the afternoon of the 9th.
Kim Hong-yeol (Hong10), the “legendary b-boy” of the breaking team, which became an official sport at the Asian Games through this competition, was the flag bearer for the homecoming.
He also represented his country at the closing ceremony at the Olympic Sports Center Main Stadium in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, where he carried the Korean flag.
Most of the athletes, who were dismissed the previous day in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, have either returned to South Korea or scattered to various parts of the world for international competitions.
“Thanks to the encouragement and support of the Korean people, the athletes returned home without any accidents and with great achievements,” Lee said, adding, “I was very impressed by Ahn Se-young’s (badminton) fighting spirit. Our soccer and baseball teams won their games against Japan in a convincing manner, and I am deeply impressed.”
Choi Yoon, chairman of OK Financial Group, who served as the head of the athletes’ team, also said, “I am grateful to the people for paying attention to the unpopular sports,” adding, “I learned a lot from watching. The sight of (the athletes) doing their best during the preparation period will be a memory of my life.”
Kim Hong-yeol, who appeared with the Korean flag, said, “It’s a great honor. I didn’t know it was such an honor, so I just accepted (the flag),” he said, adding, “I’ve been dancing all my life, and now I’m holding the flag. I feel like it’s a big step forward and I feel good,” he laughed.
Lee Ri-young and Heo Yun-seo, who finished fourth in Artistic Swing, said, “We had a good experience at the Asian Games, even though the result was disappointing. We will work harder to prepare for the World Championships in Doha next February.”
South Korea, which aimed for third place overall at the Games, finished just behind hosts China and Japan.
The team won 42 gold, 59 silver and 89 bronze medals in the 16-day event, which was held from March 23 to April 8.
Among the Korean athletes, Kim Woo-min (swimming, Gangwon Provincial Office) and Lim Im-hyun (archery, Korea Gymnastics Federation) were named the male and female Most Valuable Players (MVPs), respectively.
Kim got off to a flying start in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay final on March 25, when he teamed up with Hwang Sun-woo, Yang Jae-hoon (Gangwon Province) and Lee Ho-joon (Daegu Metropolitan City) to win Korea’s first ever Asian Games team gold medal in 7:01.73.
Kim, who also won the 800-meter freestyle final on Monday in 7:46.03, was the first to touch the touchpad in the 400-meter freestyle final on Monday (3:44.36), beating out competitors from across Asia.
The youngest member of the archery team, 2003-born Lim Im-hyun, won a trio of titles just before the Games closed.
After sharing gold medals with her teammates in the mixed team and women’s team events, she won her third gold medal in the women’s individual final on Sunday, defeating Ansan (Gwangju Women’s University) 6-0 in straight sets.
The two, along with Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo and high jump silver medalist Woo Sang-hyuk (Yongin City Hall), will now head to Jeonnam.
They will be competing in the 104th National Games, which will be held at 70 venues across the province, including the Mokpo Sports Complex, from March 13-19. 스포츠토토