China, host of the Hangzhou Asian Games, is Asia’s biggest sports powerhouse. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, it has never been out of the top three in the world. It has finished first overall at the Asian Games 10 times in a row.
South Korea has enjoyed a reputation as a global sports powerhouse despite being nowhere near the size of China in terms of population. It has long formed a “top two” with China at the Asian Games, but at the 2018 Games in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, it lost second place overall to Japan, which won 49 gold medals and took home a total of 75. It was the first time South Korea had finished second since the 1994 Hiroshima Games, which were hosted by Japan.
Japanese sports are characterized by a strong grassroots presence in elite sports. However, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the country has made a major investment in elite athletics to capitalize on the popularity of the sport. From the Jakarta-Palembang Games, the investment bore fruit, and at the Tokyo Olympics, the team leaped to third place overall.
For the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kick off on March 23, the KOC has adopted third place as its official goal. It’s unusual for a South Korean team to aim for third place instead of second.
Instead of accepting the gap with Japan, whose elite athletics has been at its peak since before and after the Tokyo Olympics, the idea is to use it as a springboard to close the gap.
“Our opponent (for second place) is Japan,” said Lee Ki-heung, president of the Korean Olympic Committee, at the Asian Games D-30 media day last month. They invested about 10 times more than us for the Tokyo Olympics. But now we are closing the gap a lot,” he said.
“In Jakarta, there was a large gap (26 gold medals) between us and Japan. Now we will recover at least 10 golds from that gap.”
South Korea, which is sending a total of 1,140 athletes to compete in 39 events, is aiming to win 45-50 gold medals and finish third overall. No other country can match the stature of the trio of Korea, China, and Japan on the Asian Games stage. The real goal for the Korean team is to close the gap on Japan across all disciplines and continue to be a sporting powerhouse.
In order to perform well in the multi-sport competition, they will need to excel in the fundamental events of track and field and swimming. Woo Sang-hyuk is a medal favorite in the high jump, and Korean swimming’s emergence at the World Aquatics Championships last July is also expected.
Traditional favorites like archery, taekwondo, and fencing are also expected to lead the medal race. For the first time in the history of the Asian Games, eSports will be featured as an official sport, and with Korea’s “gaming powerhouse” masters set to compete, a number of medals are expected to be won.
The Korean team will hold its final ceremony at the Olympic Hall at Seoul Olympic Park on the afternoon of the 12th, and the main squad will board a flight to Hangzhou, China on the 20th.
바카라 The official name of the event is ‘The 19th Hangzhou Asian Games 2022’. It was originally scheduled to be held in September last year, but was pushed back a year due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in China. It will be the third Asian Games to be held in China, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
North Korea will make its first appearance at an international sporting event in a long time. North Korean sports have been on the sidelines since 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country even missed the Tokyo Olympics and was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The country has since been reinstated and will return to the international sports scene with competitions hosted by friendly China.
Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus, which have been sanctioned by various sporting event organizations since their invasion of Ukraine, were briefly considered for the Asian Games, but are likely to be absent.