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Korea recovering from Rio retaining World titles
13 Aug 2017 13:25
Judo superpower South Korea is under pressure to atone for Rio woes having missed out on an Olympic judo gold for the first time since 2004. Korea failed to win Olympic gold in Rio for the first time since the Athens 2004 Olympics.
Jeong Bo-Kyeong came away with U48kg silver while An Baul took the same colour medal in the U66kg category. Reigning world champion Gwak Dong-Han won bronze.
Legends such as Kim Jae-Bum, Min-Ho Choi, and Song Dae-Nam have left a huge void in their country’s ranks since retiring, but the ability is there and in droves. A new group of young judoka came to the forefront in the last cycle, winning World medals on their way to Rio, but were unable to perform as we all know they can when it came to their competition days in Brazil.
Changes were made to the coaching staff following the Olympics, with former World bronze medallist An Jeong-Hwan returning home from Spain to coach the men and former World Judo Masters bronze medallist Joung Da-Woon making the transition from athlete to coach the women.
South Korea will field a full talent-laden team of 18 judoka including defending world champions An Baul and Gwak Dong-Han and world bronze medallist An Changrim.
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An Baul is likely attract the most attention at this weekend’s European Open in Rome. The Korean World Champion and Olympic finalist leads the seeding list at U66kg among 51 men. Italian Fabio Basile took the Olympic title in this category in Rio, but Basile is still enjoying his post Olympic rest period, and he’s right. Without Korean An Chang-rim, perhaps Guillaume Chaine (FRA) will be the man to beat at U73kg. So, the first day in Rome, the Korean judoka will likely set the tone. Read more
Miriam Schneider (GER)
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