The first Olympic gold medal in South Korea’s history was won by wrestler Yang Jeong-mo at the 1976 Montreal Games. At the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, South Korea swept the 12 boxing weight classes. Judo dominated the event, sweeping six of the eight gold medals on offer.
From then until the early 2000s, wrestling, judo, and boxing continued to win medals at international competitions. The proud moniker of these three combat sports was “filial piety”.
However, based on their recent performance, it’s hard to call combat sports “filial” anymore. At the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games (AG), boxing and wrestling won no gold and judo won just one gold medal. Is their decline simply due to a lack of “hunger”?
In modern sports, it’s unrealistic to expect athletes to perform without investment.
According to the management disclosure data of the member sports organizations of the Korean Sports Federation, the total tax revenue of the Korean Boxing Association in 2022 was about 2.6 billion won ($2,663,8376). In the same year, the total budget of the Korean Archery Association was over 7 billion won ($7,8701,1383).
Adding to the difficulty of organizing athletes is the fact that the federation’s management has been disrupted. The Korean Boxing Association was designated as the governing body of the Korean Sports Federation at the end of 2021 due to the significant noise from the election of its president.
The internal problems at the Korean Wrestling Federation were even worse. Until the 2014 Incheon AG, wrestling was enjoying a renaissance, winning 12 medals, including three golds. However, the following year, the president of the federation was arrested for embezzling federation funds, and in 2016, a secretariat employee was caught embezzling 3 billion won. At the Hangzhou AG, Korean wrestling failed to win a single silver medal, let alone a gold.
Declining performance, dwindling budgets due to the absence of sponsors, and a lack of promising talent has now become a vicious cycle.
There is a fundamental problem facing the sport. In the past, wrestling, boxing, and judo were all heavily sponsored by large corporations, as were wrestling, boxing, and judo, when they were considered “filial” sports. Winning a gold medal was a guarantee of success, as it brought national popularity and support. This is no longer the case. Instead, young athletes dream of making it in the UFC and other professional fighting organizations, not the national team 토토사이트.
In this reality, it has become a problem that Korean combat sports, which have performed well in the past, have not come up with a new vision, but are still stuck in the same old ways of success and have not found a training method that fits the times.
In fact, Korean fighters have been able to compete in international competitions by training at a higher weight class than their competitors from other countries, cutting down dramatically to pass the weigh-in just before the fight, and then regaining their weight and condition just before the fight. However, these extreme methods have become more negative as the times have changed. In addition, if you stick to the same coercive training methods as in the past, noise may leak out.
At Hangzhou AG, we’ve seen that Korean combat sports are far from competitive. The answer is to create an environment that fosters passion so that athletes can be fired up to compete.
Shin Shin-hoon, a former Incheon AG boxing gold medalist in 2014, said, “When I was commentating on the broadcast of the Hangzhou tournament, I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I also felt self-doubt that Korean boxing is at this level. People say that boxing is difficult now, but the athletes who perform in the unemployed teams are treated well. The athletes shouldn’t be complacent. They shouldn’t be complacent, and the national team should have people who are really passionate about it, both athletes and coaches.” “With the rapid growth of recreational boxing, I think elite boxing may disappear from Korea in the future. The athletes need to feel that sense of urgency.”