Kim Woo-min (21-Gangwon Provincial Government) holds up three fingers and soon adds one more to make it four.
Fueled by the confidence he gained at the Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships, Kim is aiming to win four medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“I want to win more than three gold medals at the Asian Games,” Kim said as he walked through the arrivals hall at Incheon International Airport on the 31st after the World Championships.
At the urging of a reporter who said, “You can be a little more honest,” Kim smiled shyly and held up four fingers to show his intention to win four gold medals.
No South Korean athlete has ever won four gold medals in a single Asian Games swimming event.
Choi Yun-hee became the first Korean swimmer to win a triple at the 1982 Games in New Delhi, while Park Tae-hwan won two triple titles in Doha in 2006 and Guangzhou in 2010.
Kim Woo-min will try to win the 400, 800 and 1,500 meters freestyle and 800 meters medley relay at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
He showed promise at the World Championships in Fukuoka.
Kim broke his own personal record in the men’s 400-meter freestyle in both the preliminaries (3:44.50) and final (3:43.92) to move into the top five in the world.
Kim, who finished sixth in 3:45.64 at Budapest last year, improved his time by 1.72 seconds in less than a year and moved up one spot to fifth on his World Championships personal best list.
Kim is the only Asian swimmer to reach the men’s 800-meter freestyle final at both last year’s and this year’s World Championships.
Kim’s time of 7:47.69 in the men’s 800-meter freestyle broke the Korean record of 7:49.93 set by Park Tae-hwan at the London Olympics in August 2012 by 2.24 seconds.
Park’s 800-meter freestyle record is an “800-meter leg record” measured during the 1,500-meter race at the 2012 London Olympics. In an official 800-meter race, it’s likely that Park would have lowered his time even further.
However, compared to the records of current athletes, Kim Woo-min is already the best in Asia.
At the Fukuoka Games, Kim finished 14th in the 800-meter freestyle. No other Asian swimmer finished ahead of him.
Kim withdrew from the 1,500-meter freestyle in Fukuoka, but he plans to compete for gold in Hangzhou.
His desire to win his first team gold medal at an Asian Games is even stronger after teaming up with Hwang Sun-woo (20), Yang Jae-hoon (25-over Gangwon Province) and Lee Ho-joon (22-Daegu Metropolitan City) in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay at the Fukuoka World Championships, where they were the only Asian team to reach the final and finished sixth in a Korean record time of 7:04.07.
“I worked really hard to prepare for the Fukuoka World Championships, and it feels great to have achieved personal bests in all the events I competed in,” said Kim. “I will continue to show good form until the Asian Games in September and the Olympic Games in Paris next July.”
The Fukuoka meet was both a confidence booster and a learning experience for Kim.
“I watched world-class swimmers in detail,” he says, “and I realized what I was lacking. I plan to improve before the Asian Games.” 먹튀검증