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S. Korean-born archery coaches abound at Rio Olympics

All Headlines 07:54 July 14, 2016

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- If the South Korean archers were to accomplish their goal of completing the gold medal sweep at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next month, they will likely have to beat teams coached by their compatriots.

Last month, Kim Chung-tae, who won the men's team gold medal for South Korea at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was named the coach of the Japanese squad for Rio. According to the Korea Archery Association, Kim has been coaching at Kindai University in Japan and is training with his student-athletes in South Korea.

Kim had a tumultuous relationship with Korean archery officials. A year after winning the Olympic gold -- South Korea's first in the men's team event in 12 years -- Kim was stripped of his national team position for joining teammates in revolting against tough training programs.

Kim moved to Japan in 2009 and has been coaching there since.

The Japanese men's team includes Takaharu Furukawa, who won the men's individual silver behind South Korean Oh Jin-hyek at the 2012 London Games, and Kaori Kawanaka, a member of the bronze medal-winning women's team four years ago.

Kim also coached Kawanaka at Kindai University and according to the Japanese media, Kawanaka was able to win the Olympic bronze because she'd heeded Kim's advice that she had to take at least 500 shots each day to get better.

Furukawa also told the Japanese media that having Kim on board has brought a great deal of stability to the national team.

Kim is far from the only Korean national coaching a foreign country in archery.

At the London Olympics, 11 countries -- not counting South Korea -- had 14 South Korean head coaches or assistants. All four nations in the semifinals -- the United States, Italy, Mexico and South Korea -- had coaches born and raised in this country.

Lee Ki-sik, who led South Koreans to eight Olympic gold medals from 1988 to 1996, coached Australian Simon Fairweather to the gold before home crowds at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Four years later in Athens, Lee was the personal coach for bronze medalist Tim Cuddihy, another Australian.

He has been the U.S. national head coach since January 2006, and is particularly famous for developing Brady Ellison into a medal contender.

Koo Ja-chung is at the helm of the Taiwanese national team. Koo won the men's team gold medal at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games, a year after capturing the team title at the world championships.

Koo coached South Korea at the 2009 world championships, where the country swept four recurve gold medals.

Under Lee Jae-hyung, Malaysia earned its first Olympic spot in the men's team event in London. Cho Hyung-mok will be coaching Spain for the second straight Olympics.

Jang Young-sool, former South Korea head coach and currently an executive director at the Korea Archery Association, said the country has embraced the challenge.

"Once we get close to medals at the Olympics or the world championships, we're bound to go up against Korean coaches," Jang said. "These teams have been getting better, but we see it as a healthy competition. The quality of our own performance has improved thanks to such opponents."


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