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Jin Jong-oh eyes individual gold at Asian Games

Posted April. 25, 2018 07:31,   

Updated April. 25, 2018 07:31


“There's no such thing as an Asian Games jinx for me, but if people call it jinx, I am going to break it this time,” said South Korean shooting legend Jin Jong-oh (39).

His eyes were as sharp as when he stared at the target. Jin, the only shooter to have won three consecutive Olympic gold medals in a single event, has so far won four Olympic gold medals (three gold medals in 50-meter pistol and one in 10-meter air pistol). But he has never won a medal in individual events even though he won three gold medals in team events at the Asian Games. “I want to grab an individual gold in the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games (August 18 to September 2) by focusing on the game,” he said Tuesday at Changwon International Shooting Range where the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup is being held.

He fractured his ribs during hiking early this year, and was not able to train for a month. This injury affected his performance, which is why he ranked fourth in the World Cup selection contest and did not qualify for the game. But he entered an extra game where each country can send two athletes (athletes play in the World cup but their scores are not reflected on the ranking and cannot compete in the final round). He scored 585 points, which would have put him on the second in the rank if he competed as a qualified shooter. “I will try to fit and recover my form in upcoming competitions such as the Asian Games,” said Jin.

He secured an Asian Games berth in the 10-meter air pistol event. His main event, 50-meter pistol, will not be played at the Asian Games, while the 10-meter air pistol mixed team event is yet to confirm‎ team members. According to Korea Shooting Federation, either Lee Dae-myeong who ranked first in the individual match or Jin Jong-oh who ranked second will compete in the mixed team event if the Asian Games organizing committee decides that one of two individual shooters have to play in the mixed team. But if it decides to select other shooters than those who play in the individual event for the team event, Kim Cheong-yong who ranked first in the mixed team match will be selected. “I want to compete in the mixed team event. I think it’s going to garner a lot of attention because male and female shooters compete in a team,” he said.

The 2018 ISSF World Shooting Championships (August 31 to September 15) will also be held at Changwon International Shooting Range. Korea is holding world shooting championships for the second time in 40 years after 1978 Shooting Championships in Seoul. “I believe shooting will become more popular through the Championships,” said Jin, a public ambassador of the championships.

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com