South Korean artistic gymnast Yang Hak-seon carries his bags at Narita International Airport in Narita, Japan, after arriving for the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. (Yonhap)
NARITA -- The main South Korean delegation to the Tokyo Olympics arrived in Japan on Monday, four days ahead of the opening ceremony for the competition delayed one year by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jang In-hwa, head of the delegation, led a team of 69 athletes and officials from sports such as archery, gymnastics, table tennis and fencing.
South Korean athletes in sailing, football and shooting, among others, traveled to Japan earlier in the month. Swimmers and badminton players arrived on Monday.
Overall, South Korea will be represented by 232 athletes and 122 officials in 29 sports.
The stated objective for the delegation is to grab six to seven gold medals and rank inside the top 10 in the medal race for the fifth consecutive Summer Olympics.
Lee Kee-heung, head of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the biggest obstacle standing between South Korean athletes and their medal target is the raging pandemic.
"We do have concerns about the situation and we'll try to look after our athletes the best we can," Lee told reporters at Narita International Airport. "I believe we'll be able to accomplish our goal, though the pandemic will be a variable."
Volleyball star Kim Yeon-koung and swimmer Hwang Sun-woo will be South Korea's flag bearers at Friday's opening ceremony. Kim is the captain for all female South Korean athletes, while pistol shooter Jin Jong-oh is the captain for men.
There will be some preliminary action prior to the opening ceremony. The men's football team will face New Zealand on Thursday to open the group stage, and the ranking rounds for men's and women's archery are scheduled for Friday morning. (Yonhap)