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'Golden Generation,' New Record of Asian Games
  • By Kim So-ha, cub-reporter
  • 승인 2023.10.16 01:02
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▲ Korean national swimmers cheering for Kim Woo-min at the Asian Games held at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center swimming pool in China on the 29th of last month (Source : Yonhap News)

The South Korean swimming team won a total of 22 medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games(AG) on the 29th of last month, with six gold, six silver, and ten bronze medals, the best record ever. This is a record that far exceeds the number of gold medals and the total number of medals won by Korean swimming race ever. The South Korean swimming team won three gold, two silver, and eleven bronze at the 2006 Doha AG, and won four gold, three silver, and six bronzes in 2010 Guangzhou AG when, "Marine Boy," Park Tae- hwan was playing. In 2006 and in 2010, South Korea relied on a single superstar Park Tae- hwan, while this Hangzhou is significant by winning medals in various events with the performance of Kim Woo- min (22, Gangwon Provincial Government), and Hwang Sun- woo (20, Gangwon Provincial Government). It is also encouraging to set new Korean records in 14 events, including medal relays.

Kim Woo- min, one of the main players of the ‘Golden Generation,’ won gold medal in the men's 400- meter freestyle, 800- meter freestyle, and 800- meter relay, achieving triple crown at the single AG. It is the third time in 13 years since Park Tae- hwan. Choi Yoon- hee won a triple crown at the 1982 New Delhi AG, and Park Tae- hwan won it in 2006 and in 2010. Kim Woo- min won his third gold medal by recording 3:44:36 in the 400- meter freestyle, his main event, on the 29th. Kim Woo- min took the lead in the 400m freestyle by running the first 50m section in 25.19 seconds, never missed the lead since then, and continued to widen the gap with second- place Pan Zanler of China. The race was overwhelming, as he arrived 4.45 seconds earlier than Pan Zanler.

Kim Woo- min's 400- meter freestyle skills are considered top- notch on the world stage. He finished sixth and fifth in the 400m at last year's Budapest World Championship and this year's Fukuoka World Championship, showing remarkable growth during the 18 months period. Regarding his 400m race, Kim Woo- min said, "The early pace was very pleasing, but the last 100m record was disappointing. If I make up for that, maybe I can enter the range of 3:42." he said. "I think the Olympic medal would follow with the record around 3:42. I’ll focus on training with that goal." he said, expressing his determination for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Hwang Sun- woo, who won two AG gold medals, is called the, ‘top 2’ with Kim Woo- min. He won two gold medals in the 200- meter freestyle and the 800- meter relay. His main event is the 200- meter freestyle. He also won medals in all six events he competed in, including a silver medal in the 400- meter freestyle and 400m medley relay, a bronze medal in the 100- meter freestyle, and in the 400- meter medley relay mixed. Hwang Sun- woo was the only Asian athlete to reach the podium at the World Championships last year and this year, becoming the first Korean to win two consecutive awards. Hwang Sun- woo, said, "The Paris Olympics are less than a year away. In the 200m, my main event, the world's top athletes are packed up in the early and mid 1:44,” he said. "I think the color of the medal will be decided by one end and will train hard for the rest of the year to reach that.”

The ‘Golden Generation’ was coined because of diverse medals from the South Korean swimming team. Yoo- chan (21, Daegu City Hall), won the first gold medal for the team in the men's 50m freestyle, and Baek In- cheol (23, Jung- gu Office, Busan), presented a surprise gold medal in the men's 50m butterfly. Lee Eun- ji (17, Bangsan High School), won a bronze medal in the women's 200m backstroke for the first time in 25 years, sweeping up a total of five medals (one silver and four bronze medals). Relay medals, which cannot be won depending on a specific individual, also poured out. The athletes who showed off their skills through the AG left a commitment to show an even better performance, referring to the Paris Olympics held in July of next year.

By Kim So-ha, cub-reporter  lucky.river16@gmail.com

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