Average age 15.5 years old. The Korean skateboarding team, comprised entirely of teenagers, is aiming for a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Skateboarding, which was first adopted as an official event at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, is largely divided into two categories: ‘Street’ and ‘Park’. Streets demonstrate skills on various structures such as stairs, handrails, rails, slopes, benches, and walls, while Parks demonstrate aerial skills using steep slopes in a hollow bowl-shaped stadium. Both events advance to the finals after two performances within 45 seconds, and a total of four gold medals are at stake, one for each men and women. Same-age players Jeong Ji-hoon (16) and Cho Hyeon-ju (16) are considered promising street and park players, respectively. They are busy preparing the final lineup ahead of their first Asian Games. Jeong Ji-hoon checked his sense of real-life performance at the World Championships in Switzerland on the 14th, and Cho Hyun-joo also went to Italy for training during the same period.
Although this is their first time standing on the Asian Games stage, both players are veterans. He started skateboarding in the lower grades of elementary school and has extensive experience on international stages such as Olympic qualifiers and world championships. Their goal for this competition is to win a prize. Jeong Ji-hoon said, “First of all, I absolutely have to go to the finals, and I am aiming for a prize,” and added, “I will show everything I have prepared over the years without making any mistakes.”
The key is quick local adaptation. Since you have to use all your skills in a short period of 45 seconds, there are many variables that affect the score during the game, such as movement direction, jump height, and landing timing. Jo Hyun-joo explained, “The concrete and cement materials of the stadium are also very different. Some places are smooth and some places are stiff, so the wheel of the board used varies depending on the floor material and the degree of friction.”
Injury management is also important. Athletes live with injuries because they have to learn skills in high and dangerous terrain. Cho Hyun-ju, who recently received treatment for an ankle injury, said, “Due to the nature of the sport, there is a lot of rotation of the skateboard with your feet, so I often break my ankle.” Jeong Ji-hoon also injured his wrist and elbow while practicing a new technique and was in a cast for a while. Coach Kim Young-min, who coaches the players, emphasized, “No matter what competition you participate in, injury management is the top priority.”
Jeong Ji-hoon and Cho Hyun-joo are both ‘national representatives’ wearing the Taegeuk symbol and ‘students’ at the same time. The two players, who entered high school this year, go to school in the morning and head to the stadium after school. When I’m not riding a board, I enjoy playing games and talking about idols and hanging out with my peers. Jo Hyun-joo said with a smile, “I heard about my participation in the Asian Games and am cheering for her at school. My classmates asked me if I would broadcast the game, but I don’t know if I can watch it as it overlaps with the exam period.”스포츠토토
The skateboarding team leaves for Hangzhou on the 20th. Park preliminaries will be held on the 24th, and street preliminaries will be held on the 26th.