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Reigning Olympic wrestling champ qualifies for Rio in heavier weight class

All News 17:00 June 08, 2016

YANGGU, South Korea, June 8 (Yonhap) -- Reigning Olympic wrestling champion Kim Hyeon-woo has qualified for this year's Rio Games in a new weight class.

The Greco-Roman star on Wednesday bulldozed through the competition to win the men's 75kg at the final national team trials in Yanggu, Gangwon Province, 175 kilometers east of Seoul.

Kim, the 2012 Olympic champion in 66kg, will attempt to become the second South Korean to capture back-to-back Olympic gold medals in different weight classes. Sim Kwon-ho did so in 1996 and 2000 in the 48kg and 54kg Greco-Roman classes.

"I am pleased to have won this competition, which was the first hurdle to the Olympics," Kim told reporters after clinching his Rio berth. "The Games are less than two months away and I will prepare so that I won't have any regrets."

Even though he will be competing in a new weight class, Kim said his goal hasn't changed.

"I am going to Rio to win the gold medal," he said. "It won't be easy to do so in a heavier weight class but it's also fun and exciting at the same time. I'd like to challenge myself and see where I stand."

Kim, 27, said he has improved himself a great deal over the past four years.

"I understand I have to work even harder than I did for London to win the gold this time," he went on. "But I am a much better athlete now than before."

As for comparisons with Sim, a member of United World Wrestling (UWW) Hall of Fame, Kim said, "It's a great honor. I will try not to taint his name and will try to be the next Sim Kwon-ho."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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