Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeAsian GamesGwangju: The bow and arrow cradle of South Korea’s dominance in archery

Gwangju: The bow and arrow cradle of South Korea’s dominance in archery

Back in 1984, when 17-year-old Seo Hyang-Soon became Korea’s first individual archery gold medallist at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, little did she know she would be starting a revolution of sorts at her home city of Gwangju. The city in the southwest part of South Korea led the nation in pro-democracy protests in the 1980s, and it remained in the forefront of a sporting rising too.

To honour her achievement, the city decided to set up a Seo Hyang-Soon Centre for archery, where young children could come and try their hand at the sport. It created such a buzz in the city that most youngsters tried their hand at it, and very soon, it catapulted into a proper competition structure.

Students begin training and competing in elementary, middle and then high school teams, before moving to a university squad and, if they were good enough, a professional team would sign them up.

ALSO READ | How dhanushya-baan, fancy dress contests at Jatras kickstarted archery trend in Maharashtra

Over the years, the city has become a stronghold for not just archery in Korea but in the world too. The list of Olympic medallists who are from or have trained in Gwangju is impressive. Apart from Hyang-Soon’s achievement, Jang Yong-Ho medalled at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 (team events), former World No. 1 Joo Hyun Jung won gold at Beijing 2008 (team), Ki Bo Bae won individual gold at London 2012 and bronze at Rio 2016, Choi Misun won gold at Rio 2016 (team), before An San won three gold (individual, team and mixed team at the Tokyo Games).

Most Read 1Chandrayaan-3 mission: Dawn breaks on Moon, all eyes on lander, rover to wake up 2As Indo-Canadian relations sour, anxiety grips Indian students, residents who wish to settle in Canada 3Karan Johar says Sanjay Leela Bhansali did not call him after Rocky Aur Rani: ‘He’s never called me but…’ 4Gadar 2 box office collection day 40: Hit by Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan onslaught, Sunny Deol movie ends BO run with Rs 45 lakh earning 5Shubh’s tour in India cancelled: Why is the Canada-based singer facing the music?

While the Hyang-Soon Centre got the arrows flying, it’s the state-of-the-art Gwangju International Archery Centre that has carried the legacy forward. Built as a legacy facility for the 2015 Universiade held in Gwangju, the centre will host the World Archery Championships in 2025 after beating the Spanish capital Madrid for the hosting rights.

ALSO READ | Not every Asian Games medal weighs the same

The centre, however, isn’t just used for Korean archers. Chinese and French archers too attend camps there as do quite a few professional teams. While the professionals get their intense training, what’s really unique about the facility is that amateurs can walk in and try their hand at archery. It has helped create the notion that the sport is just about for anyone.

Also ReadAsian Games 2023 Live Updates: Rain stops play after India lose first wic…Asian Games men’s volleyball: India stun 2018 silver medallists South Kor…Antim Panghal goes down in last-second turnaround in Wrestling Worlds sem…India vs China Highlights, Asian Games 2023: CHN deliver 5-1 humbling, Ra…

Not everyone makes it as a professional though. But the beauty of it is that the city has advanced coaching programs that help those archers remain within the sport. More importantly, it has seen the number of coaches just multiply within the city. Having good coaches all around to help youngsters develop proper technique from a very young age is imperative to dominating on the world stage, something that Gwangju has excelled in.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular