The 2021 Olympics have begun and the excitement among the fans is palpable. The first event of the games was the Women's Ranking Round (archery). The invincible South Koreans have once again started their archery campaign in style. Their performance on the first day meant they swept the top 3 positions in the Ranking Rounds. Domination in the archery events at the Olympics has become habitual now for South Korea.
Since 1984, they have won 23 out of the 34 gold medals on offer at the Games. They express confidence every time they step out for a competition in the sport. Here, we look at the reasons behind South Korea's prolonged dominance in archery.
#1 South Korea start training their athletes at a young age
Unlike many other countries. South Korea has a very organized national setup. They start training potential athletes when they are young, with a focus on form before they pick up a bow and arrow. This helps them tremendously when they get the chance to aim at a target. Children from high schools and colleges get an equal chance of competing as the system in South Korea is extremely transparent.
#2 Tough training regime
South Korean archery attributes a large part of its success to the training regime that is followed. Archers from across the country are expected to take around 2,000 arrows at the target every week. This helps build a lot of muscle memory. No other country in the world has been reported to follow such a rigorous training regime.
The South Koreans take pride in the sport and the archers are expected to be on top of their game every single day.
#3 Emphasis on consistency
South Korean archers are not guaranteed a spot in any competition based on their medals. The national trials in South Korea are considered to be one of the toughest in the world. These trials test the archer's stamina and level of consistency. Every archer in the circuit could make it to the national side if they are consistent.
The trials end with the archers being divided into two groups. Group A includes the archers that get to compete in global events like the World Cups. Group B archers contest Asian Championships and other events. This means that even an Olympic gold medalist will have to perform on a consistent basis if they want their place back. This is the driving force behind the immense success Korean archery has enjoyed over the years.
#4 Archery is a part of the culture in South Korea
Archery is a huge part of the culture in South Korea. The Idol Star Athletics Championships are held twice a year and hosts an array of events including archery, wrestling, athletics and more. K-Pop stars and other celebrities in Korea are an important part of these games. This is also of immense significance for South Korea as a whole as those artists are globally renowned celebrities.
#5 Unusual training methods
Winning medals requires plenty of dedication and as mentioned earlier, consistency. The South Korean Archers are often asked to train under tough situations. In the build-up to the Rio Olympics, the archers trained in noisy stadiums and adverse weather conditions.
They also trained at the Korean National Training Center in Seoul, which was turned into a replica of the Sambodromo, the stadium where the Archery event took place in Rio. This helped them adapt to and gave them a headstart for competing in alien conditions.
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