Did You Know…
South Korea -one of the most modern countries in the Third World- is very successful in international sport. From 1976 to 2004, Korea has won 203 Olympic medals, including 72 golds. It has more gold medals than Cuba, Venezuela, Portugal and Nigeria combined.
The team from South Korea won the gold medal in the 4th World Junior Men`s volleyball Championship held in Manama (Bahrain) in 1987. Suk-Eun Kim, best player of the tournament, helped his team towards first position, the best result ever for an Asian country since 1981.
Seoul -the capital city of Korea- has hosted several international sports events including:
-The X Asian Games
-The VIII World Basketball Championship
-The XXIV Olympic Games
Like Jorge Antonio Bell Mathey (Dominican Republic) and Oswaldo Jose Guillen Barrios (Venezuela) , Dong Won Choi was one of the best baseball players in the 1980s. Under his creative leadership, Korea won the silver medal at the 1980 World Championship in Japan.
Un Yong Kim -former Korean politician and diplomat- received the 2000 Sports Grand Prix of the Korea Sports Press Union, in recognition of his contribution for the historic joint parade of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and South Korea on Olympic teams during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney. This great man of Korean sport has been honored several times in recognition of his efforts to national and regional sports movement.
South Korea won the second Olympic title of its history in women`s handball in Barcelona’92 (the first one was in Seoul’88). It defeated teams such as Austria, Spain, Germany and Norway. The team also won the gold medal at the 1995 World Cup. In 1998, Korea won the gold medal at the Asian Games in Thailand.
The Korean baseball players were participants in the second Olympic tournament in Atlanta (Georgia,USA).
This Asian country is well-known for its sportswomen in the world. Among these athletes are Kim Jin Ho (archery), Jang Ji-Won (taekwondo), Kim Hyun OK (handball), Lee Bo-Na (shooting), Lee Eun-Sil (table tennis), Jang Mi Nam (weightlifting), Jin Sun-Yu (skating), Seok Eun-Mi (table tennis), Byun Chun-So (skating), Kim Hyung Mee (handball), Hyun Tung-Hwa (table tennis), Suh Kwang-Mi ( field hockey), Jang Young-Ja (table tennis), Sun-Hee Lee (taekwondo), Se Ri Pak (golf), Cho-Hyun Kang (shooting), Kim Soo Nyung (archery), Kim Hwa Soon (basketball), Lee Eun Kyung (archery), Bang Soo Hyun (badminton) and Hyun Sook Hee (taekwondo).
Yoo Nam-Kyu won a gold medal in men`s table tennis singles at the Olympics in Seoul.
The 1st World Youth Women`s Volleyball Championship was won by South Korea in a final against the People`s Republic of China.
Jae-Wang Kang was one of the best handball players in the 20th century. Under his exceptional play, South Korea won the silver medal in handball in the Olympics in 1988.
South Korea has won a gold medal in men´s basketball three times at the Asian Games (1970, 1982 and 2002).
The Peruvian women`s volleyball team was coached by Man Bok Park, who was born in South Korea. Immediately after Peruvian women`s team failed to qualify for the Olympic Games in 1972, the Peruvian Volleyball Federation appointed Man Bok Park as head coach of the senior national team. Man Bok Park said: ” In four years time I intend to make Peru one of the top six in the world”. In just a few months the Peruvian national team changed. He was expecting dedication and a banishment from their vocabulary of the word “vacation”. He won the gold medal at the 1993 South American Championship, the silver medal at the 1982 World Championship, the silver medal at the 1986 Goodwill Games, the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics, the bronze medal at the 1986 World Championship and the bronze medal at the 1991 Pan American Games.
The Republic of Korea hosted the 27th Baseball World Cup in 1982. The Korean team beat Japan to clinch the first place. This was the first time in which a country other than Venezuela, Colombia or Puerto Rico had won the World Championship.
Yang Jung-Mo won the Olympic gold medal for freestyle wrestling at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. However, he lost the chance to defend his title when South Korea boycotted the Olympics in 1980 in the USSR.
The 2003 World University Games took place in Daeju, Republic of Korea.
Korea -one of the world`s poorest countries in the 1950s- competed at the Asian Games for the first time at the 1954 Asian Games in Manila, Philippines.
The Republic of Korea sent 9 sportswomen to the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer (Norway) in 1994.
Kim Hwa Soon is the best basketball player in the history of Korea. In 1984, she finally realized her dream of competing in the Olympic Games, helping the Korean team win a silver medal at the Los Angeles Games.
In the 1980s, Korea had famous volleyball players in Asia. They were Jang Suk Han, Jong-Il Yoon, Hee-Kyung Gae and Byung-Sun Lee.
Korean sportspeople have performed excellent in international events in sports such as archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing , kayak, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, fencing, field hockey, judo, karate, shooting, softball, synchronized swimming, table tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
Yeo Woon-Kon was a member of the Korean team which won the field hockey tournament at the 2002 Asian Games. He also won the silver medal at the Olympics in Sydney.
The Korean youth team won the Asian Cup football in 1981 and qualified for the FIFA World Youth Cup in Sydney, Australia.