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Hwang Sun-woo wins MVP at National Sports Festival

Posted October. 15, 2021 07:24,   

Updated October. 15, 2021 07:24


South Korean swimmer Hwang Sun-woo has become an MVP at the 102nd Korean National Sports Festival.

On Thursday, the last day of the festival at the Gimcheon indoor swimming pool, Hwang earned a medal for his team as the last swimmer of the 400-meter mixed medley relay for male high school students with a record of 3 minutes and 43.07 seconds. For the mixed medley relay, four swimmers each swim 100 meters in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle.

Hwang was responsible for the last 100-meter freestyle section as a member of Team Seoul, following Lee Su-min, Choi Myong-jae, and Hwangbo Jun-heon. 100-meter freestyle is his specialty. He was ranked No. 5 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the first Asian swimmer in 65 years to compete in the final for the event. As South Korea’s best Hwang finished the relay by a wide margin, his team was three seconds faster than the next best team.


It was a glorious finale. After winning gold medals for 50-meter freestyle and 800-meter relay on Sunday and 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter relay on Tuesday, Hwang earned another gold medal on Thursday, winning first place in all five events that he attended. In the 200-meter individual medley, which is not his main focus, he set a new South Korean record of one minute and 58.04 seconds.

Hwang was chosen an MVP among other potential candidates, including Kim Je-deok who won four medals at the festival and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Lee Yun-seo who was ranked No. 21 for women's individual artistic all-around at the Olympics, the highest record held by any South Korean gymnast.

This is the first time Hwang won five medals at the festival. In 2019 when he competed at the festival for the first time, he won four golds from five events. Last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19.

“My goal was to become a five-time gold medalist at the festival. I am glad to achieve the goal,” said Hwang who successfully finished his last high school competition. “I am happy to successfully complete the last competition in high school.”

Hwang will attend the 25-meter Short Course Worlds hosted by FINA to be held in Doha from Oct. 21 through 23.

Dong-Wook Kim creating@donga.com