Some finished with a gold medal, others with a bronze. But their names will not be forgotten for their efforts to achieve the ‘beauty of the species’. Here’s a look back at some of the veterans who hung up their tricolors at the end of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Fencing dominated the medal race early in the Games, with Choi In-jung (33-Gyeryong City Hall) winning a double gold medal in the women’s epee after defeating last year’s world champion Song Sera in the final. The Korean, who has been on the verge of tears at the Olympics and Asian Games, made the final stage even more spectacular.
“I’m happy to finish my career with two gold medals. I am especially proud to have won the gold medal in the team event,” he said. “I’m not worried about the national team if I leave,” he said of his decision not to compete at next year’s Paris Olympics. I have no doubt that my juniors will win the Olympic gold medal in Paris next year.”
The eldest member of the men’s foil team, Heo Jun (35, Gwangju), battled back from injury to win his second straight gold medal in the team final. Despite his short stature of 1.68 meters, he has consistently maintained top-notch performance and decided to hang up the flag after this event. He said, “I tried my best and have no regrets. I hope that the junior athletes will do well in the future.”
Modern pentathlete Chung Jin-hwa (34-LH) also made his national team debut. He became the first South Korean to win an individual World Championship title in 2017, finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics and won gold in the team event. “It feels good to end my career with a gold medal,” Jung said, “I was under a lot of physical pressure while preparing for the Asian Games. I decided to retire because I wanted to give way to my juniors.”
Athletics veteran Kim Kook-young (32-Gwangju Metropolitan Government) won his first medal in his fourth and final Asian Games. He won bronze in the men’s 400-meter relay with Lee Jung-tae (27-Anyang City Hall), Lee Jae-sung (22-Korea Gymnastics University) and Ko Seung-hwan (26-Gwangju Metropolitan Government) in a Korean record time of 38.74 seconds. Kim showed tears during the interview. Although he could compete for the national team for many more years, he could not hide his emotions as this is actually his last overall competition.
Kim Min-gyu, 41, who became the first South Korean to win a silver medal in kurashi, a traditional martial art from Uzbekistan, competed in his first and last Asian Games. After retiring from judo, he ran a gym and turned to kurashi, a similar sport, and hopes to become a coach in the future. Men’s boxing bronze medalist Jung Jae-min (35-Namwon City Hall) also decided to retire.스포츠토토
Women’s national basketball ace Kim Dan-bi (33-Woori Bank) and men’s hockey captain Lee Nam-yong (40-Seongnam City Hall), who played more than 300 games for the national team, also said goodbye. Together, they won the bronze medal. It wasn’t the gold medal they were aiming for, but it was still a victory in their last game for the national team.
Ryu Hansu (35) and Kim Hyun-woo (35-plus Samsung Life), the “two-headed wagon” of Korean wrestling, stepped off the mat in disappointment. They had planned to marry each other after competing in the Asian Games last year, but the event was postponed by a year due to COVID-19. They gave it their all in their mid-30s, but Ryu lost in the quarterfinals and Kim lost in the bronze medal match.