LONDON (Yonhap) -- South Korean men's archery team took the bronze medal at the London Olympics Saturday, a day after setting a world record in the ranking round.
|From left: Im Dong-hyun, Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek (Yonhap News)|
The South Koreans Im Dong-hyun, Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek beat the Mexican trio of Juan Rene Serrano, Luis Eduardo Velez and Luis Alvarez 224-219 in the bronze medal match at Lord's Cricket Ground.
The victory, though, came only after South Korea lost to the U.S. by the same score earlier in the day. Jake Kaminski, Jacob Wukie and Brady Ellison denied Koreans their chance to win the country's fourth straight Olympic archery team gold.
Italy went on to beat the Americans for the gold later Saturday.
In the team competition, each archer shoots two arrows in each of four ends, or sets, for a team total of 24 arrows. South Korea put three shots in 8 and managed only five 10s, while the Americans scored nine 10s, including three in a row to close out the match.
In the ranking round that determined their seeds Friday, Im, Kim and Oh claimed the top three spots. Im broke his own 72-arrow world record by three points with 699, and Kim was just one back.
Oh fired a 690 that put him 10 points ahead of the next closest archer, Larry Godfrey of Britain. The South Koreans' total of 2,087 was also a new 216-arrow world record.
As the top-seeded team, South Korea earned the bye to the quarters, where it dispatched Ukraine 227-220.
As a team, though, the U.S. entered the London Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world while South Korea was fourth. And the Americans didn't back down against the record-breaking Koreans, taking a one-point lead after three ends and sealing the deal by scoring 59 out of possible 60 points in the final end. Koreans had only 55 in their final six arrows.
The South Koreans regrouped for the tilt against Mexico. After Kim, Im and Oh began their match with 9, 10 and 10, Serrano shot 5 to put his side in a hole from which it never recovered.
With South Korea having dominated Olympic archery for decades, a medal of any color other than gold is considered a disappointment. But the three male archers said after taking bronze that, disappointed as they may be, they gave everything they had on the range.
"It's a bittersweet moment," said Oh, the senior member of the team at 30. "But we played our game and we have no regrets. I think my teammates did a great job."
Kim, a 21-year-old competing in his first Olympics, choked back tears but still said, "I am okay. I am not that disappointed. We just didn't shoot well (in the semis) and I accept the result."
Both Oh and Im said the swirling wind came into play in the semifinals loss, though they didn't want to make excuses.
"Windy conditions are part of the game in archery," Im said.
"The U.S. team made a better adjustment to the wind than we did."
The archers will have another crack at an Olympic gold, as the individual competition starts Monday. Im, Kim and Oh are the top three seeds based on their points from the ranking round, and that means they will face the bottom three archers in the opening round and will avoid other high-ranked archers, including each other, until deep into the tournament.
"We have the top three seeds, and I'd like us three to sweep the medals in the individual event," Im said.