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Son Heung-min named top S. Korean athlete in 5th straight annual poll

Summer Olympics 16:16 December 13, 2021

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Tottenham Hotspur's South Korean star Son Heung-min has been named the country's top athlete for the fifth straight year in a national poll.

Gallup Korea announced the findings of its annual survey on athletes on Monday. In a poll of 1,700 South Koreans over the age of 13 from Nov. 5 to 28, Son earned overwhelming support of 72.8 percent as the top South Korean athlete for 2021.

Respondents could select up to two athletes.

Son has developed into one of the Premier League's most dangerous attackers. He established a new Premier League career high last season with 17 goals in 37 matches. In 51 games across all competitions, Son netted 22 goals, also his career best.

So far in the 2021-2022 season, Son has a team-high six goals in 13 Premier League contests.

Volleyball icon Kim Yeon-koung finished a distant second to Son at 29.4 percent.

Kim captained South Korea through an improbable march to the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics in August, inspiring the volleyball-loving nation with her performances on the court and leadership off the court.

In this file photo from Aug. 8, 2021, Kim Yeon-koung of South Korea leaves the court after losing to Serbia in the bronze medal match of the Tokyo Olympic women's volleyball tournament at Ariake Arena in Tokyo. (Yonhap)

Another Olympic star ranked third, with archer An San earning 10.4 percent of support. The 20-year-old swept up gold medals in the women's individual, women's team and mixed team events in Tokyo, becoming the first South Korean triple gold medalist at a Summer Olympics.

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin came in at fourth with 9.1 percent. An San's partner in the mixed team event, Kim Je-deok, ranked fifth at 4.1 percent.

Rounding out the top 10 were: SSG Landers' outfielder Choo Shin-soo (3.4 percent), RCD Mallorca midfielder Lee Kang-in (3.1 percent), former Premier League midfielder Park Ji-sung (2.8 percent), IBK Altos' middle blocker Kim Hee-jin (1.6 percent), and LPGA Tour star Ko Jin-young and Wolverhampton Wolves' forward Hwang Hee-chan, who tied for 10th at 1.4 percent.

In this file photo from July 30, 2021, An San of South Korea holds up her gold medal from the women's individual archery event at the Tokyo Olympics at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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