South Korean men’s fencing icon and living legend Koo Bon-gil (34, Korea Sports Promotion Organization) will attempt to create new history for the sport in Hangzhou, China. The self-proclaimed “Prince of Asia” is ready to make a strong push for gold.
Koo has won a total of five Asian Games gold medals, starting with the men’s individual gold at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, followed by the men’s individual and team gold medals at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games and the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.
On the Olympic stage, he won team gold in London 2012 and Tokyo 2021, and at the World Championships, he finished on top of the team podium four times – in Leipzig 2017, Wuxi 2018, Budapest 2019 and Cairo 2022 – in a career that few athletes can match.
At the Asian Games, he is the only fencing legend to win three individual titles in a row, and if he wins gold at the Hangzhou Asian Games, he will break his own record of consecutive Asian Games titles.
Koo has no intention of stopping his ‘golden streak’. He has plenty of incentive to do so, as he could become the most decorated Korean athlete to ever win gold at an Asian Games with individual and team titles at the Hangzhou 2022 Games.
To date, five athletes – Park Tae-hwan in swimming, Seo Jung-gyun in equestrian, Nam Hyun-hee in fencing, Ryu Seo-yeon in bowling and Nam Chang-hoon in archery – are tied for the most gold medals won by a South Korean athlete at an Asian Games with a total of six.
Just one more individual or team gold would put Koo on par with the legends of his sport. If he wins two medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games, he will reach a milestone no other Korean athlete has ever achieved.
“I believe that this opportunity is not given to everyone, so I will do my best to achieve it,” said Koo. “Compared to my first Asian Games appearance in Guangzhou in 2010, I am not in the same state of mind and body. However, if I think it’s the last time and overcome it with mental strength, I think I can fulfill my dream,” he said.
Despite a slump after winning gold in the team event at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Koo proved the sporting adage that “class is forever”. After a silver medal at the Padova Grand Prix in Italy in May last year, he won the individual and team titles at the Asian Championships in June 2022, setting the stage for his contingency in Hangzhou. In March, she won bronze in the individual event at the World Cup in Budapest, proving that she is still competitive on the world stage.
Korean fencing will be relying heavily on its ‘eldest brother’ Koo Bon-gil at the Hangzhou Asian Games. The men’s sabre team failed to produce an individual podium finish at the World Championships in July. With the team’s five-game losing streak in the team event also coming to an end, it’s time for Koo to show his veteran strength.
“I’m excited that the Games are just around the corner, but I’m not going to Hangzhou just to have fun,” Koo said at the Asian Games team signing ceremony on Dec. 12, adding, “My preparation has been going well so far, and I’ve been in good shape in the domestic competitions I’ve been competing in for conditioning.”
He also said, “I am confident (at the Hangzhou Asian Games). I’m the prince of Asia again,” he joked, before emphasizing, “As I said in another interview, the Hangzhou Asian Games is a competition where I can set many records, so I’m focusing more and preparing more thoroughly.”메이저놀이터
Meanwhile, Koo will join Kim Seo-young of the swimming team as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on June 23. Having had the honor of representing the Korean team at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, Goo plans to strut her stuff as the face of Korean sports at the biggest festival of Asian sports.