Olympic archery champion named top South Korean female athlete of 2016

Nicole Han, Nov. 29, 2016, 9:23 a.m.

Chang Hye-jin, a double Olympic gold medalist in archery, was named the country's top female athlete of the year Tuesday.

Chang took the highest honor at the 2016 Korea Woman Sports Awards in Seoul. The 29-year-old archer won gold medals in both the individual and team competitions at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in August.

Chang was the only South Korean woman to win two gold medals in Rio, where she made her Olympic debut.

"This year has been unforgettable year for me," she said at the award ceremony. "I'm already satisfied with the Olympic gold medal, but I feel really honored and thankful to receive this top honor."

Chang said she will work harder to live up to her reputation as the Olympic champion.

"Winning the Olympics doesn't mean your career is over," she said. "I have to set another goal and keep working hard. I will first do my best to qualify for the national team selection trial in March next year. I will try to win the gold medal at the World Championships."

The coaching accolade went to Pak Se-ri, who led the South Korean women's golf team at the Rio Games. The 39-year-old, a World Golf Hall of Famer, helped Park In-bee claim the gold medal.

"I've received so many awards in my career, but this is my first time receiving an award for coaching," Pak said through her agency. "I consider this award as support for my future endeavors."

Weightlifter Lee Ji-eun was named the best rookie. The 19-year-old broke the junior national records and earned three gold medals at the 97th National Sports Festival in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, last month.

The Korea Woman Sports Awards was established in 1989 by former International Olympic Committee Vice President Kim Un-yong to honor South Korean women's athletic achievements. The annual ceremony was originally called the Yungok Female Sports Grand Awards, but they changed their name and expanded categories in 2013.

Previous winners include footballer Ji So-yun, rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae and archer Ki Bo-bae. (Yonhap) 

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