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'High-tech training behind S. Korean archery powerhouse’

Hyundai Motor’s support to Korean archers’ global dominance spans more than three decades

Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Euisun applauds in the audience during an awards ceremony for the women’s archery team competition on Sunday. (Yonhap)
Hyundai Group Chairman Chung Euisun applauds in the audience during an awards ceremony for the women’s archery team competition on Sunday. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s archery team won three golds at the Tokyo Olympic games. It’s an astonishing result of the blood, sweat and tears of the athletes but also a huge feat for Hyundai Motor Group which has been supporting the team with state of the art technologies.

The conglomerate said Tuesday it has applied five fields of technology -- including artificial intelligence, biometric information, big data and 3D printing -- to enhance accuracy and provide customized strategies for the national archery team.

The project, led by the group’s Chairman Chung Euisun, began since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

A shooting machine, which Hyundai Motor developed using its know-how in sorting out defected car parts, tests arrows under the same pressure, speed and direction to eliminate any variables from arrow quality that may get in the way of athletes’ training to improve accuracy, the firm said.

Hyundai Motor’s technological support covered other various areas, including the collection of data on athletes’ performances.

All targets used during training had built-in electronic sensors, which could read and record scores automatically. The “Electronic Targets,” developed by Hyundai Motor, records, scores and tracks the location of an arrow once it hits the mark.

The Korean team was also filmed during training, videos which were later used to detect athletes’ heart rates with the help of a video-based heart rate monitoring system, also created by the firm. The software records an athlete’s heart rate by detecting the smallest changes in an athlete’s face color.

The data is automatically saved and later used to help the Korean team make comprehensive assessments of an athlete’s performances. An AI coach offers analysis of the data and suggests possible improvements.

There was also a meditation app designed to help athletes maintain mental stability during the games.

3D scanning and printing technology have also been deployed. The Hyundai Motor Group created customized bow grips for each athlete using Alumide -- a newly created material that mixes aluminum with polyamide powder and used to manufacture car parts. 

A graphic of the various technologies used to train the national archery team. (Hyundai Motor)
A graphic of the various technologies used to train the national archery team. (Hyundai Motor)

Hyundai Group’s love for archery dates back 37 years.

The group’s former Chairman Chung Mong-koo became the president of the Korea Archery Association and pledged to promote development of the sport after being inspired by the gold medal win of athlete Seo Hyang-soon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Later the group founded its own female and male archery teams. The auto group was also the first to apply science and state-of-the art technology to sports training, it said. Former chairman Chung provided various equipment from laser arrows and heartbeat monitors to the national team, according to the company.

The current chairman, who inherited the group’s control from his father, has carried on with the legacy and continued the group’s support of Korean archery.

The junior Chung reportedly flew to Tokyo immediately after his business trip in the United States. He was spotted cheering for the national team in the audience during a televised broadcast of the women’s archery competition.

In the archery category, South Korea has won 26 gold medals, nine silvers and seven bronze medals since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, taking home 70 percent of the gold metals available in archery competitions.

In the Asian games’ archery competitions, it won 42 golds, 25 silvers, and 16 bronze medals from the 1985 Asian Games in Bangkok to the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta.

By Kang Jae-eun (kang.jaeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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