Korean Olympic athletes are doing better than expected despite earlier disappointment as the global sporting event is now racing toward the end.
Things did not exactly look promising for the Koreans in the early stage of the Olympics as gold medal favorites underperformed.
Swimmer Park Tae-hwan managed a silver medal in the men's 400-m freestyle after a controversial disqualification in the preliminary heat that was subsequently overturned. Foil fencer Nam Hyun-hee and judoka Wang Ki-chun, both silver medalists in the Beijing Olympics four years ago, missed out on a medal. Epee fencer Shin A-lam was embroiled in one of the biggest controversies in the 2012 London Olympics that robbed her of a spot in the final.
But with great performances in archery, fencing and shooting, Korea achieved its initial goal of winning 10 gold medals. Gymnast Yang Hak-seon's gold medal in the men's vault on Monday was he country's 11th. On Tuesday Kim Hyeon-woo added another gold by winning the men's 66 kg Greco-Roman wrestling competition.
The head of Korea's Olympic squad, Lee Ki-heung said, "If we can keep up this pace, we may adjust our goal to a higher level." The Korean squad now hopes to surpass its achievement in Beijing in 2008, where they finished seventh overall with 13 gold, 10 silver, and 8 bronze medals. It may not be able to win as many medals in total, but winning more gold medals seems possible.
The taekwondo competition starts Wednesday, and Korea expects at least two gold medals in four categories. It also hopes for more medals from boxer Han Soon-chul, whose bronze medal is guaranteed, and the men's table tennis team, which is facing China in the final.
The best ever Olympic finish by Korea was a fourth place in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul with 12 gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals.