September 03, 2018 10:30
Korea fell short of its medal goal at the Asian Games in Indonesia, which concluded on Sunday. It ended in third place with 49 gold, 58 silver and 70 bronze medals, although it set the goal of winning at least 65 gold medals for a seventh consecutive second-place finish at the quadrennial event.
"I humbly accept the result," Korean Olympic Committee chief Lee Ki-heung said at the closing ceremony.
China led the way with 132 gold, 92 silver and 65 bronze medals, followed by Japan with 75 gold, 56 silver and 74 bronze medals. Korea ranked behind Japan for the first time since the Asian Games in Hiroshima in 1994.
Japan, which is investing heavily in elite sports in preparation for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, took home its biggest haul of gold medals since the Asian Games in Bangkok in 1966, when it grabbed 78.
Korea produced disappointing results in many disciplines in which it is considered a powerhouse. In archery, it had been confident of winning at least seven gold medals in eight events, but finished with four -- two of them in compound archery, which is not an Olympic event. In taekwondo, it achieved just half of its gold medal target with five -- three in sparring and two in poomsae.
The country picked up only two gold medals in bowling, compared to seven at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon and eight at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou. This was partly because the number of bowling events was reduced to six at this year's Asian Games from 12 in the past. It won three gold medals from 20 shooting events, compared with eight gold medals from 40 events in Incheon.
Korea's badminton players ended the Asian Games completely empty handed for the first time since Bangkok in 1978. In equestrian, in which the country won four gold medals four years ago in Incheon, the country managed to take just one silver and one bronze medal home.
Korea continued to struggle in athletics and swimming -- sports in which it has typically been considered weak. Hurdler Jung Hye-lim won the only gold medal for the country in track and field, in which it also took home only one silver and three bronze medals.
In swimming, the country also managed to win only one gold medal, by Kim Seo-yeong, as well as one silver and four bronze medals. China and Japan swept the discipline with 19 gold medals each out of 41 in total. The remaining two went to Singapore.
Only in fencing did Korea live up to expectations, earning six gold medals. In other positive results, Na Ah-reum became the first Korean female cyclist to earn four gold medals at a single Asian Games, and gymnasts Yeo Seo-jeong and Kim Han-sol made their Asiad debuts in Indonesia and succeeded in winning the titles in the women's vault and in the men's floor, respectively.
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