After missing out on a fourth consecutive Asian Games fencing title in the men’s sabre individual event by a single shot, Koo Bon-gil (Korea Sports Promotion Organization) showed more “emotion” as he congratulated his junior Oh Sang-wook (Daejeon Metropolitan City Hall) for beating him to the title.
After the men’s sabre individual final at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games at the Hangzhou University of Electronic Science and Technology Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China, on Friday, Koo said, “I’m not disappointed that I didn’t win four consecutive titles because it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m just as happy that Oh Sang-wook won the gold medal as I am that he won four in a row.”
Koo Bon-gil, who won the men’s individual sabre title at the 2010 Guangzhou, 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, attempted to win his fourth consecutive gold medal at the event.
Coincidentally, he met his final opponent from Jakarta, Oh Sang-wook, in the final again this year, but after winning his third straight title with a one-point victory five years ago, Koo lost 7-15 to the younger Korean.
“Before the match, we were ‘fighting’ to have a nice, hard, and good-natured competition,” said Koo, who blamed his loss on the fact that “I became very urgent in the second half, and Sang-wook had no time to spare.”
“When we met in the final in Jakarta, I felt uncomfortable even though I won because of Sang-wook’s military service, but today’s silver medal is better than the gold,” he said, “I’m happy that I played my best and had no regrets.”
“Sang-wook came back from an injury (ankle ligament surgery in November last year), and I think he’s back to where he was before the injury,” he said, adding, “I think he’ll be fine for the Paris Olympics next year.”
He was the flag bearer for the Korean team at the opening ceremony of the Games and was considered by the organizers to be one of the most exciting athletes to watch in fencing, and although he lost in the final, he was still one of the best in Asia.
In the quarterfinals, he came from behind to win 10-14 on a dubious decision against a Chinese fencer with the support of his home fans, and in the semifinals against Yousif Al-Shamlan (Kuwait), he overcame an early 1-5 deficit to reach the final.
“It was an honor in itself to challenge for four consecutive titles and I want to give myself a pat on the back,” said Koo, adding, “I will do my best to win gold in the team event (on Aug. 28).”
When asked if he dreams of facing Oh Sang-wook at the Paris Olympics, he smiled and said, “That’s just wishful thinking.”
However, Koo did not hide his desire to win the record for the most gold medals by a Korean athlete at a Summer Asian Games.
The record for most gold medals won by a South Korean athlete at an Asian Games is currently six, held by Park Tae-hwan in swimming and Nam Hyun-hee in fencing.
Koo Bon-gil, who has five gold medals, could move into sole possession of first place if he wins two gold medals at the Games, first in the individual events and then in the team events. He needs to make it seven, which is not enough.
“I told my teammates that if I don’t win gold this time, I will go to the Nagoya Asian Games (in 2026). Even if I can’t win the individual title, I will try my best to win the team title and write my name in history,” he said. 토토사이트