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Sabre fencer, swimming relay team eye historic medals

Sept. 24, 2023 - 09:09 By Yonhap
South Korean fencer Gu Bon-gil poses for photos before a training session for the Hangzhou Asian Games at the National Training Center in Jincheon, North Chungcheong Province. (Yonhap)

South Korean fencer Gu Bon-gil will take aim at history when he takes the piste for the men's individual sabre event at the Asian Games in China on Monday.

Gu is already the only fencer to have won three consecutive Asiad gold medals in an individual discipline. He can push his record further out of reach for others by winning another title at Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium in Hangzhou.

For his past two gold medals, Gu took down his South Korean teammates: Kim Jung-hwan in 2014 and Oh Sang-uk in 2018. Gu and Oh will represent South Korea once again in the individual event here.

A gold Monday would give Gu six career Asian Games gold medals, tying him with five others for the most won by a South Korean athlete.

There is more history at stake in the swimming pool, where the South Korean men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay team will go for gold.

South Korea has never won an Asian Games gold in any swimming relay event. The silver medal in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay at the 1994 competition in Hiroshima, Japan, remains South Korea's best result so far.

This relay team is led by Hwang Sun-woo, a two-time world championships medalist in the 200m freestyle. He will be joined by Kim Woo-min, Lee Ho-joon and Yang Jae-hoon.

At the World Aquatics Championships in July, the quartet broke their own national record in the heats and did so again in the final later in the same day, finishing in sixth place with a time of 7:04.07.

And this was with Hwang at less than 100 percent, as he had been under the weather following a string of individual races in a jampacked schedule. In Hangzhou, the relay will only be Hwang's second race, after Sunday's 100m freestyle. The members have each expressed confidence that they can break the national record once again, with Lee going as far as saying the team could even challenge Japan's 14-year-old Asian record of 7:02.26.

Also on Monday, taekwondo athlete Jang Jun will chase his first career Asiad gold in the men's -58kg event. The reigning Olympic bronze medalist is competing in his first Asian Games.

Jang is currently world No. 2 in his weight class. (Yonhap)