Sports / Outside In

Windy Incheon poses challenge to S. Korean Asiad archers

( Updated: 2014-09-17 15:13

INCHEON - Archery powerhouse South Korea will embark on its gold medal pursuit at the upcoming Asian Games, but strong winds and stadium noise may yet prove difficult to the host country.

Gusty winds make port cities like Incheon, the Asiad host, a tricky place for archers, said Ryu Su-jung, head coach of the South Korean women's recurve archery team.

"Winds here are difficult, and players must adapt quickly to changing weather conditions," she said Tuesday while watching her archers train their arrows on the bull's-eye at an outdoor field in Incheon.

Practicing outdoors allows archers to remember which winds are dangerous and which ones aren't, she added.

Another challenge to the players is stadium noise, which practically goes unchecked at this year's Asiad.

"There are no rules that ban spectators from making noise at the field," said one of the Asian Games' organizers. "If a person makes noise that's unbearably loud and does so on purpose, only then may he or she be asked to leave the stadium."

With this year's venue -- the Gyeyang Asiad Archery Field -- just 8 meters wide, crowds will be seated within earshot of the archers.

To prepare for potentially hostile environments, South Korea has trained archers at loud baseball stadiums since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Park Sung-hyun, the then favored South Korean at the women's individual final, lost to Zhang Juanjuan of China as a raucous crowd made all types of noise.

The preliminary round for this year's recurve and compound archery will kick off next Tuesday, with finals for team and individual portions taking place Sept. 27-28.

South Korea has won 33 out of 44 archery gold medals since the 1978 Bangkok Games, leading all Asiad participating countries. It swept all four gold medals up for grabs in the men's and women's team and individual events at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. The compound event has been added to the Asiad program for the first time this year.


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