Gun-toting mission

By Korea Herald

Rising shooting star aims to prove Olympic gold was no fluke

  • Published : Aug 27, 2014 - 20:18
  • Updated : Aug 27, 2014 - 20:18
JINCHEON (Yonhap) ― South Korean shooter Kim Jang-mi was one of the country’s surprising gold medalists at the 2012 London Olympics, where she won the women’s 25-meter pistol event.

London was her first Summer Games. As she gets ready for her first Asian Games next month in South Korea’s Incheon, Kim said she wants to prove her Olympic title wasn’t a fluke.

“I think this Asiad will be a good opportunity to really test myself,” Kim told reporters at the national shooting team’s media day at Jincheon National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chuncheong Province, about 90 kilometers south of Seoul. The Asian Games in Incheon, lying just west of Seoul, will run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

“Hopefully, my Olympic gold doesn’t turn out to be just a lucky one,” Kim added.
Korean shooter Kim Jang-mi (Yonhap)

She admitted she was quite relaxed before the Olympics because, “It was my first big event and I didn’t know any better.”

Now that she’s had her taste, she’s no longer ignorant about the cutthroat nature of international competitions.

“I am a bit nervous and anxious this time,” she confessed. “I am trying really hard to calm myself down and relax. I guess I will have my built-in excuse since it will be my first Asian Games.”

She will first enter the women’s 10-meter air pistol event, which will be held on the morning of Sept. 20, a day after the opening ceremony.

Kim could potentially bring the host country its first Asiad gold medal this year, but she said the honor may just belong to Jin Jong-oh, who will compete in the men’s 50-meter pistol later in the same day.

She expressed much admiration for the 34-year-old veteran.

“Whenever I look at Jong-oh, I always ask myself, ‘How can someone shoot so well?’” Kim said of the three-time Olympic gold medalist. “We joke around sometimes but to me, he will always be a great shooter.”

Counting her focus as her greatest asset, Kim said she’d like to once again face Chen Ying of China at the Asian Games.

Kim beat Chen by one point for the Olympic gold two years ago.

Kim shot 591 points in qualification to Chen’s 585 points. In the final, Kim shot 201.4 points, only the fifth-best mark among eight finalists, while Chen topped the field with 206.4 points. Kim squeezed past the Chinese, 792.4 to 791.4.

“When I went to the World Cup event in Beijing last month, I didn’t recognize any of the Chinese shooters,” Kim said. “I’d like to go up against (Chen) again, but I don’t know if she’ll come here.”

Jin Jong-oh out for more

South Korean pistol shooter Jin Jong-oh has won virtually everything there is to win for an athlete in his sport, except for an individual gold medal at the Asian Games.

With this year’s Asiad in South Korea’s Incheon less than a month away, Jin said Tuesday he is ready to deal with the pressure of aving to end his personal drought in front of home crowds.

“Obviously, there will be great expectations placed on the athletes since we’re competing at home,” Jin told reporters.

“I guess I have to win a gold medal to make it all more enjoyable,” Jin added.

The Asian Games will run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. It will be Jin’s fourth Asiad. So far, he has grabbed two gold, three silver and three bronze medals at the Asian competition, but both of the gold medals have come in team events.

Jin also has three Olympic gold medals and one world championship to his credit, but admitted the missing gold gnaws at him, saying he’d been training even harder for this year’s Asiad than previous ones.

Jin will have a whirlwind of a month in September. He is scheduled to depart for Spain on Sept. 3 for the International Shooting Sport Federation World Shooting Championships. He will return home on Sept. 14 to get ready for the men’s 50-meter pistol event at the Asian Games, scheduled for Sept. 20.

“Since the two events are so close together, I’d been concerned about my conditioning,” Jin said. “So I’ve been concentrating more on physical training than on shooting drills.”

At an age when most shooters may start losing their edge, Jin, 34, has remained competitive on the international stage. He has picked up multiple international titles in recent years. “There are shooting coaches around my age now,” Jin said. “It will be even tougher by 2016 (when the next Summer Olympics will be held), so I am doing what I can to keep up.”