Posted August. 15, 2008 07:55,
Korean archery is an obstacle to the development of international archery.
The countrys archery prowess has invited criticism and envy because of its long dominance of the event.
At a news conference at the Olympic Green Archery Field in Beijing yesterday, Tom Dielen, secretary-general of the International Archery Federation (FITA), was asked if he would change the rules to prevent Koreas dominance.
The world body has indeed changed major rules whenever major international competitions are held, apparently to break Koreas dominance in archery.
Before the Beijing Olympics, archers in the individual competition shot 18 arrows until the quarterfinals and 12 arrows in the semifinals and the finals. The number of arrows is now 12 in any competition.
Archers must also shoot an arrow within 30 seconds instead of 40. In the team competition, archers fire 24 arrows in four rounds of six arrows each, instead of 27 arrows in three rounds of nine arrows each.
Though the FITA insisted it changed the rule to make the competition more interesting, others suspect the true motive was to break Koreas archery dominance.
A year before the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, a U.S. firm that had a big share of the global archery equipment market developed innovative arrows. The sport`s international federation, however, prevented the company from selling the arrows to Korea.
These moves, however, have done nothing to shake Koreas dominance. After each Olympics, the national archery squad studies rule changes and uses them as a chance to develop.
At the news conference, Dielen ruled out changing rules to break a nations dominance, saying Korean archers win because they prepare themselves very systematically.
He also said Koreas advanced training system for archery has spread across the world and contributed to improving the sport in other nations.
To catch up with Korea, one must learn Koreas training system, he added.