TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) – Wherever there is a bow and arrow at the Tokyo Olympics, a South Korean won’t be far away.
On top of the coaches who guide the medal-hogging national team, veteran South Koreans are in town mentoring archers from various countries, including the United States, China, Australia and Vietnam.
While their charges are battling it out for medals, the South Korean coaches huddle together chatting about subjects such as what is the most comfortable face mask all while monitoring the competition on the TV screen.
“We all know each other,” Kyomoon Oh, a South Korean coach with the Australian team, told Reuters.
“So we have lunch together, talk about one another’s teams, and exchange information about new techniques or new equipment.”
South Korea has ruled the sport for decades, winning every archery gold medal since the 1984 Games, including all four golds at Rio five years ago.
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Oh himself enjoyed great success as an athlete in his homeland, winning silver and bronze medals at the 1996 Games, and a gold in the team event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
He began his coaching career in Australia in the mid-2000s.
South Korea have been famous in the archery world for the depth and detail of their preparations. Oh said all South Korean archers had a clear and solitary goal — winning gold at Olympics.
The country was not thrilled that its top archery brains were guiding other Olympic nations, but those coaches have yet to better their own nation, said Young Sool Jang, vice president of the Korea Archery Association.
Jang said there were eight Korean coaches in Tokyo working for other countries.
“Everything is global,” said Jang, who led South Korea from the 1996 Atlanta Games through London 2012. “We can’t stop them, so all we have to do is prepare more and go one step further.”
Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Ken Ferris
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