“Korea’s judo crisis is an opportunity for me,” says one of the country’s boldest athletes.

After winning bronze at the World Championships, Lee Ha-rim and Lee Jun-hwan have emerged as Asian Games gold medal favorites.

Reporter Shin Soo-bin met with the two spirited Generation MZ athletes.


So far, judo’s national team has been all about “humility.

[Kwak Dong-han/Rio Olympic bronze medalist in judo: “Actually, every single one of them is lacking.”]

[Cho Goo-ham/Tokyo Olympic silver medalist in judo: “I’m not proud of my inadequacies or….”]

Generation MZ athletes, however, were different.

[Lee Jun-hwan/National Judo Team: “The confidence to beat anyone I meet.”]

[Lee Ha-rim/National Judo Team: “I think it’s more fun when there are a lot of spectators.”]

The word-for-word duo defeated the Olympic gold medalist to claim bronze at the World Championships.

Rookie Lee Jun-hwan, dubbed “Korean lightning” for his quickness, and World No. 3 Lee Hae-rim are two of the strongest gold medal contenders for the Asian Games in September.

Their confidence has been boosted by defeating strong Japanese competition at the World Championships.

[Lee Jun-hwan/Judo National Team: “I think about judo when I eat, when I wash, when I rest, when I play, and once I thought about judo before I went to bed, and I actually stayed up all night because I was sweating because my body was feverish.”]

He may look playful at first glance, but he’s actually a hard worker, which his coach admits.

[Hwang Hee-tae/Men’s National Judo Coach: “He’s very athletic, and I think he’s a very hard worker.”]

Korean judo has been in the doldrums since the last Olympics in London.스포츠토토

With the retirement of “stars” like Cho Goo-ham and Ahn Chang-rim, the sport is in crisis, and these two athletes are looking to turn that crisis into an opportunity.

[Lee Hae-rim/Judo National Team: “I will do my best to prepare well and repay your interest. Let’s go to the Asian Games and win a gold medal and become a hero.”]

[Lee Jun-hwan/ National Judo Team: “I want to be a hero because if I win a gold medal, I will become a star.”]

KBS News’ Shin Soo-bin.

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