Korea tempers medal expectations for Paris Olympics

Korean athletes, coaches and officials competing at the Paris Olympics stand in front of a photo wall during their media day at the Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province, June 26. Yonhap

With its delegation set to be the smallest in nearly five decades, Korea has tempered its medal expectations for this year’s Paris Olympics.

Marking the 30-day countdown to the 33rd Summer Games, the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) announced Wednesday the country is targeting five gold medals during the July 26-Aug. 11 competition.

It would be Korea’s lowest gold medal tally since the 1976 Montreal Olympics, where the country finished with one gold medal.

Korea set its Summer Games record with 13 gold medals in 2008 and matched that total four years later. The number dropped to nine gold medals in 2016 and then to six gold medals five years later in Tokyo.

KSOC President Lee Kee-heung said five gold medals would put Korea around 15th place in the medal table. In Tokyo, Korea ranked 16th with its half-dozen gold medals. The country had ranked in the top 10 at each of the four previous Olympics.

Korea is expected to have about 140 athletes competing in 21 out of 32 sports in Paris, and that would be the country’s smallest Summer Games delegation since 1976, when it sent 50 athletes to Montreal.

Korea failed to qualify in most team sports, including men’s and women’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s volleyball.

Lee adopted a positive mindset Wednesday, saying there could be surprising performances.

“We may be taking a small delegation, but we at the KSOC will help these athletes perform to the best of their abilities,” Lee said at a joint press 카지노사이트킹 conference at the Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, 85 kilometers southeast of Seoul. “With good preparation over the next 30 days, I think we may even exceed our target.”

Once again, Korea will count on multiple gold medals from archery. It leads the all-time Olympic archery medal table with 27 gold medals and 43 medals overall.

Korea has also won more taekwondo gold medals than any country with 12 and will hope to add to that total in Paris.

Fencing, shooting, judo and swimming are other events where Korean athletes are expected to contend for gold.

Jang Jae-keun, former sprinter and current head of the training center, said he was buoyed by improving performances in other sports.

“I feel like some of our athletes are peaking ahead of the Olympics,” Jang said. “I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but we are getting more hopeful in a few events.” 

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