Korea gets two medals from archery

Janice Hong, Aug. 12, 2016, 11:53 a.m.


Both of South Korea's medals on Thursday at the Rio de Janeiro Games came from archery, which became the country's most successful Olympic sport. Chang Hyejin captured the women's individual gold medal over Lisa Unruh of Germany, bringing home its 22nd Olympic archery title. Archery has overtaken short track speedskating, where the country has won 21 gold medals.

Chang defeated her teammate Ki Bobae in the semifinals. Ki, the 2012 individual champion, settled for the bronze medal this time.

So far in Rio, South Korea has won five gold, two silver and four bronze medals, halfway to achieving its goal of winning at least 10 gold medals. 

South Korea is in fifth place in the medal standings in gold medal order. The U.S. remained atop with 16 gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals, followed by China with 11 gold, eight silver and 11 bronze medals. Japan is in third place with seven gold, two silver and 13 bronze medals.

Ki would have made history as the first archer to win two gold medals in back-to-back Olympics but ceded the top individual spot to Chang, a late bloomer at 29 who didn't qualify for the London Games four years ago. Chang battled through blustery conditions at Sambodromo and even shot a 3 in the semis against Ki. Chang shrugged it off as a freak accident and held herself together through the final.

With South Korea having earlier won the women's team gold, Chang became the country's first double gold medalist. South Korea has also stepped closer to an unprecedented archery title sweep, with the men's individual competition set for Friday. Two of the country's three male archers, Ku Bon-chan and Lee Seung-yun, have made it to the round of 16.

Elsewhere, South Korea was shut out in fencing and judo. The women's epee team lost the first match of the day against Estonia, 27-26, and settled for sixth place.

This year's team featured two returnees from the 2012 squad that won silver, Shin A-lam and Choi In-jeong, but couldn't hold on to a late lead. In men's judo, Cho Gu-ham lost in the round of 16 in the men's -100kg competition. With two silver medals and one day of competition left, South Korean judo is on the verge of going goldless in Rio.

Golf began Thursday with the men's first round at the Olympic Golf Course, and both of the South Koreans in the field of 60, An Byeong-hun and Wang Jeung-hun, had solid starts. They went under par, putting themselves in solid positions with three more days left.

An, the 2015 European Tour Rookie of the Year, is tied for ninth after trading seven birdies with four bogeys for a three-under 68 on the par-71, 7,128-yard layout. Wang, who has won twice on the European Tour in 2016, had three birdies and a double bogey for a one-under 70, which put him in a 10-way tie for 17th place.

Marcus Fraser of Australia is the first round leader at eight-under 63. He had nine birdies against one bogey. All South Korean badminton players on Thursday collected wins in their group stage openers. 

Lee Yong-dae and Yoo Yeon-seong, the world No. 1 in men's doubles, beat the Australian duo of Matthew Chau and Sawan Serasinghe 2-0 (21-14, 21-16) in their Group A opener, while Kim Gi-jung and Kim Sa-rang, the No. 3-ranked tandem, also defeated Adam Cwalina and Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland 2-0 (21-14 21-15) in their Group C contest. 

Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-na, the No. 2-ranked pair in mixed doubles, cruised to victory over the U.S. players to start the Rio Games. 

In women's doubles, Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan, along with Chang Ye-na and Lee So-hee, collected wins in their opening match. Son Wan-ho, the world No. 8, defeated Jacob Maliekal of South Africa in men's singles.

In men's boxing, Ham Sang-myeong defeated Victor Rodriguez of Venezuela in a 2-1 decision to reach the round of 16. Ham, who competes in bantamweight (under-56kg), is the only South Korean boxer at the Rio Games.

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