February 13, 2020 11:22
Golfer Park In-bee on Tuesday said she is setting her sights on a chance to represent Korea once again at this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo. She won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where golf made an Olympic return after a 100-year absence.
Speaking at a press conference in Adelaide before the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open on the LPGA Tour kicked off, Park said, "It's probably tougher than getting a medal in the Olympics to make the [Korean Olympic] team. I might have to win a couple of times early this season to make the team."
The challenge prompted her to compete in the Australian event, which she had not participated in since 2012, in a bid to boost her chances. She has already played three tournaments this season.
Currently at 17th in the world rankings, she ranks sixth among Korean players, following Ko Jin-young at No. 1, Park Sung-hyun (second), Kim Sei-young (sixth), Lee Jeong-eun (ninth) and Kim Hyo-joo (12th).
The world's top 15 players will be eligible for the Olympics, with a maximum of four players from any given country. That means Park has to be included in the top four among Korean players in the world rankings as of the end of June to be able to qualify for Tokyo.
"The Olympics are definitely on my mind and I really want to do well this season to try to make the team. But even if I don't, I really don't have any regrets," she said. "I have them both in my mind. If I'm there I might have to play under so much pressure that, you know, somehow in my mind I kinda want to avoid that."
Park earned a runner-up finish at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions last month but failed to advance to the final round in her next two tournaments.
The Honda LPGA Thailand and the HSBC Women's World Championships, initially scheduled for later this month, have been canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus. This is not good news for Park, who needs to secure enough wins to be eligible for the Olympics. She has won both events in past years. Park said she respects the LPGA Tour's decision, however, as safety is the most important thing.
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