South Korean archers target more gold in Rio

Tue Jul 5, 2016 7:48am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SEOUL (Reuters) - Ki Bo-bae is under no illusions about the pressure she will face in Rio as she bids to become the first archer to defend an individual Olympic title but after shooting more than 500 arrows a day in training the South Korean is ready for the challenge.

Archery has been a gold mine for Korea at the Olympics with the country's athletes hogging 19 of the 36 titles up for grabs since the sport returned in its modern format in 1972.

The strong performance of the archery team, who have won at least two golds at each Games since 1988, has helped the Koreans to punch above their weight in the overall medals table.

With that success has come expectation, Ki told Reuters.

"Previous Korean archery teams have left a legacy with their great achievements and for many South Koreans when they think of the Olympics they remember how successful our archers have been," she said.

"So there is a bit of pressure weighing on our shoulders in that regard. But we have to think positive and the only way to overcome that pressure is through training."

Training is something the Koreans take very seriously.

Still sporting nasty sunburn from a practice session on Mount Halla on Korea's Jeju Island, Ki loosed arrows with frightening accuracy at the target as torrential rain hammered down at the Taeneung national training center in Seoul.   Continued...

South Korean national archery team member Ki Bo-bae takes part in a training session for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji