Sat, Jul 02, 2016 - Page 16 News List

S Korean archers hope noisy practice covers all the bases

Reuters, SEOUL

South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun releases an arrow at the Olympic Games in Beijing on Aug. 14, 2008.

Photo: EPA

South Korean Olympic archers will be hoping to avoid striking out in Rio de Janeiro after they announced plans to conduct open training sessions in a baseball dome to harden themselves for potentially hostile environments at the Aug. 5 to Aug. 21 Games.

The Nexen Heroes, a Korea Baseball Organisation club based at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, yesterday said that the archers would be taking aim amid crowd noise and other sound effects before two games this weekend, according to Yonhap news agency.

Targets are to be set up 70m from the archers, the same arrangement as the Olympics, and the athletes will take part in a simulated competition against national team reserves.

The male team is to compete today, a day ahead of the women’s team.

South Korean archers have trained at ballparks since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where raucous Chinese crowds made headlines in South Korea almost as much as the athletes themselves.

In the women’s individual final, favored South Korean Park Sung-hyun appeared visibly rattled by the conditions and fell to Zhang Juanjuan of China. The loss ended South Korean victories in the discipline stretching back six Olympic Games.

Afterward, the sport’s national officials said it would prepare the archers for noisy and distracting environments by making them stand on a baseball field, with crowds on hand encouraged to make noise and with loudspeakers blaring music.

The Asian country remains the world’s premier archery power, with 19 gold medals and 34 medals overall since the start of the modern archery competition in 1972.

South Korea are undefeated in the women’s team competition, with seven straight gold medals since it became a medal event in 1988.

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