The first two Olympics have been set before the opening ceremony even began. South Korean Im Dong-hyun, 26, made the new world record in archery early Friday, July 27 and even more amazing is that Im Dong-hyun is legally blind.
On July 27 the Olympic preliminary rounds for archery began, several sports’ preliminary rounds have already started to ensure that all of the sports are gone through in time. During the competition Dong-hyun, who has 10% vision in his left eye and 20% vision in his right, scored 699 points in the 72-arrow mark. He beat his own world record that he had set in Turkey a few months prior by three points.
Dong-hyun’s reaction was more than humble. “This is just the first round, so I will not get too excited by it.”
Not only did Im Dong-hyun set an individual world record but he and his fellow teammates, Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek, set the team world record as well with a total of 2,087 points. The team world record they beat was set by a South Korean team as well at 2,069 points. With these scores the team as well as the individual rounds should go very nicely for all three of the members of the South Korean team.
Im Dong-hyun also won the gold in the team events at the Olympics in Beijing and Athens in 2008 and 2004 respectively. However, his teammates are certainly able to hold their own being in second and third place in the individual competition.
Britain’s Larry Godfrey is in fourth place with his own personal best of 680 points. Godfrey reported that he was “very happy.” “I thought I would be a bit lower than fourth. I’ve shot similar scores and finished much lower.” The British team came eighth out of twelve.
Im does not wear glasses when he competes. Instead he says that he looks at the difference in the bright colors of the target to decide where to shoot.
In South Korea, archery is one of the most popular sports. Most elementary school children are taught archery in school and there is a lot of government funding and training available. The current world champion of archery, a South Korean named Kim Woo-Jin, did not make the Olympic team.
According to the Telegraph the weather was favorable for archery on the morning of July 27 with no cross breeze and cool temperatures. Many people were disappointed, however, when they showed up to watch the preliminary rounds only to be told that no tickets are sold to watch them.
Image Courtesy of Bill Hails