Olympic Archer to Teach Saudi Royal Princesses

      January 10, 2014 10:18

      Kim Soo-nyung

      Kim Soo-nyung, one of Korea's most decorated Olympians, said Thursday that she will serve as a private archery coach for two teenage Saudi princesses from later this month until the end of February 2016.

      Their maternal grandfather is King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. She is expected to earn about US$200,000 a year with the deal, which includes accommodation, a car and some other living expenses.

      Kim received the offer from the Saudi royal family through the Korean Embassy in Riyadh, which passed on the request to find a female archer to the Korea Archery Association. The association named several candidates and Kim was the final choice.

      Kim is one of the most successful archers in the history of the sport with four gold, one silver and one bronze medal from three Olympic Games. She picked up both the individual and team gold medals at the 1998 Seoul Olympics, and again helped Korea pocket the team gold at Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000. She was named the best female archer of the 20th century by the International Archery Federation (FITA) in 2011.

      After retiring, Kim worked as a commentator for the sport. In 2011,she went to Lausanne, Switzerland to complete a two-year internship in international sports administration with the FITA.

      There is no women's national archery team in Saudi Arabia, while the men's team is currently ranked 98th out of 102 member states of the FITA. If the two princesses taught by Kim grow into elite archers, they may even become the first athletes to represent their country in the sport at the Olympics. In order to broaden the base of the sport, the FITA runs a wild card system granting berths in international competitions to countries with little access to archery.

      "My goal is to get them ready to represent Saudi Arabia at the 2015 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro," said Kim.

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