“After getting infected with COVID-19, she asked me if going to the Olympics is worth getting sick,” said Park Gwang-hyeon, the head coach of Gwangju Seo-gu Office who trained fencer Kang Young-mi, after Kang won the silver medal in women’s epee at the Tokyo Olympics.
Kang was tested positive for COVID-19 after participating in the FIE Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary last year. It was a journey to win an Olympic ticket but some people criticized her for becoming the first COVID-19 patient in the national team.
“She did not feel good as soon as she returned to Korea. So she took extra care, using separate rooms with her husband,” coach Park said. “She was devastated when she found out that she was infected with COVID-19.”
After such difficulties, a silver medal she won at the Olympics meant more to her. Kang put off her plans to retire and have a baby just to compete at the Olympics. “I wanted to be a mother, who can help the baby do whatever it wants to do,” Kang said. “As I prepared for the Olympics, I got my passion back. I felt like I could continue my (fencing) career even after the Olympics.” According to Coach Park, Kang will continue her career after the Olympics. “She said her goal is to be ranked No.1 in the world since her best ranking was No. 2.”