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Rio Olympics elicits different emotions for S. Korean athletes

All News 22:28 July 26, 2016

INCHEON, July 26 (Yonhap) -- The upcoming Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics has elicited different emotions for different athletes in the South Korean delegation Tuesday, as they prepared to depart for Brazil.

The first contingent of the South Korean delegation was scheduled to fly out on a chartered plane just past midnight Wednesday. With a stopover in Dubai, the trip to Rio will take more than 24 hours.

Yet the weightlifting couple of Won Jeong-sik and Yoon Jin-hee saw it as "a family trip."

"I am very relaxed, because I'll be traveling with my husband," said Yoon, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in 58kg who came out of retirement in 2014. The two got married in 2012, soon after Yoon called it a career. They have two children.

"My in-laws will be taking care of the children," Yoon said with a smile. "Athletes in the Olympics all have their own set of goals, and I am going to stay focused on mine and try to achieve them."

Won, who will compete in his second straight Olympics in 69kg, spoke of a modest goal, saying, "I'd like to avoid any injury and put on a good performance."

On the other hand, boxer Ham Sang-myeong sounded decidedly more desperate.

The bantamweight (-56kg) fighter only earned his Olympic ticket last Tuesday. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela earlier this month, when he needed to finish in the top three. But when one of the qualified boxers withdrew from Rio, Ham was chosen to fill the vacant spot based on his No. 3 ranking in the world.

"No matter who I face, I will do my absolute best until the end, even if my bones break," he said. "I am just very grateful. I've been given this precious opportunity and I will come home with a great result."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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