“There is pressure, but it has to be handled between me and the coaches. I told the players that the pressure shouldn’t be negative.”
Go is the favorite to win a medal for South Korea at the Hangzhou Asian Games. It is expected to sweep the gold medals in the men’s individual, team and women’s team events. “In terms of objective strength, we and China are the most likely competitors,” says national team coach Mok Jin-seok, cautiously.
And for good reason. At the 2010 Guangzhou Games, the first time the sport was included in the Asian Games program, the team swept the three gold medals in the men’s and women’s team and mixed pairs. It was a triumph that raised the profile of Korean go in the eyes of the world’s most dominant nation, China.
More than a decade later, South Korea is still one of the world’s most dominant go nations. Shin Shin-seo, the 9th dan competing in the men’s individual event, is the current world No. 1. Last month, he won the world’s most prestigious Go tournament, the Ng Si-Bae. Also competing individually, Park Jung-hwan 9-dan won both the men’s team and mixed pairs titles in Guangzhou.
Among the women, Choi Jeong 9th dan stands out. She has been at the top of Korean women’s go for 118 months and is expected to be a “constant” for the team in Hangzhou. Kim Eun-ji, Oh Yoo-jin, and Kim Chae-young, who are ranked second through fourth in the Korean women’s rankings, are also expected to do their part.
However, there is no room for complacency. This is an event that brings together the best players from all over Asia. The men’s team event will be the most volatile. At the top of the Korean rankings is Yang Shin-Bak-Byeon (Shin Shin-seo Park Jung-hwan Byun Sang-il Shin Min-joon), backed by Kim Myung-hoon and Lee Ji-hyun. China, their biggest rivals, have also put together a solid lineup with Kou Ze and Yang Dingxin. All of them are ranked in the top 20 in the world. Taiwan is not to be underestimated. In the women’s team event, Japan is the favorite.
The key is physical strength. While we often focus on the intense tactical battles, strength and endurance are essential to focus on the competition for hours on end. What’s more, the competition schedule is tighter than usual. 먹튀검증 That’s why athletes are preparing their bodies with strength and cardio workouts before they leave the country.
For Shin Shin-seo, who will be competing in an individual tournament, it’s important to strategize his fitness plan. He has to play his best cards according to his opponent. That’s where Lee Ji-hyun, a 9th dan who was born in 1992 and is the oldest player in the game, comes in. “It would be a dream for anyone to wear the flag,” he said when we met at the Korean Origin in Seongdong-gu, Seoul, on the 15th, “and I prepared by imagining myself looking at the flag from the highest point of the podium.”
Adapting to unfamiliar surroundings is also important. The time limit per person is one hour. There will be three 30-second second readings. The physical time limit, combined with the pressure of an international competition, can lead to unexpected mistakes. “Local food and sleeping arrangements are also important factors in managing physical condition,” says Mok.