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Former Olympic champ judoka to retire, pursue coaching career

All Headlines 23:21 May 04, 2016

SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- Former Olympic judo champion Kim Jae-bum on Wednesday said he is retiring and will pursue a coaching career.

Kim, who won the men's 81kg at the 2012 London Summer Games, said that he wants to take on a new challenge and help young judokas become gold medalists like him. The 31-year-old has been battling a series of injuries this year which prevented him from making the national team for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Games.

"I have been working hard to become a top judoka, but I'm not going to compete anymore," he told Yonhap News Agency via phone. "Now, I want to study judo and transform myself into a coach."

Kim has been dominating the men's 81kg division in past years, winning two World Championships, four Asian Championships and two Asian Game gold medals. At the London Games, he defeated Ole Bischof of Germany for his first Olympic gold, avenging a defeat from four years ago in Beijing where he settled for a silver.

Kim said he will coach young judokas at the Let's Run Park judo club, which is run by Korean Racing Authority. The South Korean said he wants to emphasize "fun" in judo.

"When I look back on my 25 years of judo experience, I just worked hard," he said. "It's a pity that I didn't know how to enjoy the sport."

Kim said he has no regrets in his decision as he aims to build up a successful coaching career as well. The outgoing judoka also hinted that he wants to work in other areas while coaching young athletes.

"I want to train a future Olympic gold medalist," he said. "I want to push myself for a new start."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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