This is a translation of a recent article by JTBC News. You can find the original article (in Korean) here.
Kim Woojin and Chang Hyejin, 25 and 30 respectively, are preparing for the World Archery Championships in October, in Mexico.
Woojin led the gold winning men’s team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and Chang Hye-jin won two gold medals in both individual and women’s team. While they both won gold, their personalities are very different. Woojin is the youngest, but the calmest. earning him the nickname, ‘grownup’, and on the other hand Hyejin, the oldest one, is much more warrior-like.
Together they took a gold medal after defeating host country Italy 5-1 at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final mixed team finals held in Rome, Italy on August 3.
The Archery World Cup finals is a tournament in which eight male and female athletes – one from the World Cup Rankings 1 to 7 and one from the host country – shoot tournament style. Kim won the individual competition, four years after Oh Jin-Hyuk in 2013 – the last time a that a Korean male athlete won the World Cup finals. The “Archery brothers and sisters” are on top of the world.
Since the Olympics, you have both won many international competitions.
Chang: I won the gold medal in the Olympics, so I got confidence in my performance.
Kim: I had confidence from the Olympics last year. I was careful because I slipped up on the threshold of making the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and it took a lot of strength to overcome the pressure and the burden. Since Rio, I have been shooting a lot more boldly.
It seems that getting through the domestic qualification tournament is harder than winning the international competition. Rio Olympic men’s gold medalist Ku Bonchan and team gold medalist Lee Seungyun have been eliminated.
Kim: When I first started 8 years ago when I was a high school senior, the competition was extremely fierce and still is. If you shot well, you stayed, but if you didn’t, you had to leave, I was nervous.
How do you feel when your colleagues suddenly disappear?
Kim: The world of competition is tough. You have to survive solely on your skills, not networks of friends and family members. If it was all done with favours between members, Korea wouldn’t be the strong archery nation we have today. Of course, it’s not nice to see one of your teammates leave. I also was one of [those leaving] for approximately a year, so I know what it feels like. When I see them, I see them with the mind that we will have our day again to go to competitions together.
Chang: I used to cry when my friends dropped out of the team, but now I’m a bit older I think to myself and tell them that it’s not like we won’t be able to meet anymore.
Both of you have been eight years on the national team. It seems that the training centre must be like your home now.
Kim: I am now more comfortable sleeping in the village than at home.
Chang: No matter how much time goes by, it’s still just ‘the village’. I’m still more comfortable at home. (laughs)
What do you do to relax?
Chang: It is not easy for me to meet my parents often because they’re all the way out in Daegu, but I like to have a ‘restaurant’ tour with my family.
Kim: I go down to the Han [river] and inhale the chicken and cola, and I like to watch movies with my friends. Pirates of the Caribbean, yeah.
Ki Bo Bae announce she was getting married. Have you had any thoughts in that direction?
Chang: I have talked about it a lot with my friend, but we did not think about marriage since we were always training in the national team. (laughs) I once joked to Bobae that I would be left alone if she got married, but now… hey, congratulations on your marriage, Bobae!
Kim: I told Bobae congratulations on her marriage. I am still young and I have no thoughts about marriage yet. Not right now, but I do want a girlfriend. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing archery and marriage at the same time.
Tell us about the world championship next month.
Chang: The world title is not something you can say is easy. A representing athlete to has to train hard even on the day when the body is aching and wants to rest. But I’ve been doing it for the past eight years. The feeling and emotion, the spark I get when I shoot 10 points in a match is what keeps me going. I want to feel that feeling in this world championship. The goal is to win.
Kim: I want to get good results in both individual and group matches. This is the biggest major tournament since the Olympics. We have been doing well in this year’s competitions and we will be able to do well this time. We are always working for those who believe.