Stars of Asiad

(Asiad) Foreign coaches join S. Korean squad to provide technical edge

2014/09/17 06:15

INCHEON, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- Coaches from overseas have joined the South Korean delegation to this year's Asian Games in Incheon, hoping to help their adopted home achieve its goal at the multisport competition set to begin this week.

According to data by the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) on Wednesday, 10 out of 177 coaches on the South Korean delegation are foreign nationals. They have been training South Korean athletes in six sports -- athletics, canoe, equestrian, hockey, karate and cricket -- to hand down world-class techniques and know-hows.

The host country of the Asian Games aims to win more than 90 golds to finish second in the medal standings for a fifth straight time.

One of the most notable foreign coaches is Arkadii Shkvyra from Ukraine, who leads the national pole vault team. The 53-year-old famously coached Sergey Bubka, largely considered the finest male pole vaulter in history whose world record of 6.15 meters, set in 1993, stood for more than two decades. Shkvyra came to South Korea in 2010 and pole vaulters in South Korea have made steady improvements under his tutelage.

Jin Min-sub, in particular, has broken the national record multiple times and has emerged as a gold medal hopeful in this Asiad.

Arkadii Shkvyra. (Yonhap file photo) Arkadii Shkvyra. (Yonhap file photo)

Three of the four coaches on staff for the cricket team are from overseas. Speaking highly of his players' potential for the somewhat unfamiliar sport for the Koreans, one of the foreign coaches, Julien Fountain from Britain, expressed confidence in his team's advance.

"Factoring in the relatively short period of time that South Korea has turned its eye to cricket, I think my team's performance is not bad," he said, vowing to improve his team's skills further so as to let more people here enjoy cricket.

Hiring coaches from overseas "is a tell-tale sign that the country's sporting circle has come out of its long-held nature of sticking to exclusiveness, which will help solidify the foundation of our sports down the road," said a KOC official.