Stars of Asiad

(Asiad) S. Korean cyclist vies for gold to cap off 27-year career

2014/09/18 09:16

INCHEON, Sept. 18 (Yonhap) -- Entering the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, veteran South Korean cyclist Cho Ho-sung is seeking the final piece of jewelry to cap off a career that has spanned nearly three decades.

"I would like to round off my career as both a national team member and cyclist at this last stage of my life as an athlete," said Cho during an interview with Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.

This is the second time since the 2012 London Olympics that Cho, 40, has unveiled his plan to retire. The first time, he changed his mind after realizing he still had the strength left to compete.

"Personally, (being able to participate) is a great honor," Cho said, adding that it is somewhat "unfortunate" that the young bloods were unable to outpace the 40-something man.

Although the country has won several gold medals in cycling competitions in Asia over the years, the sport has received relatively little attention at home as its athletes have not yet attained memorable feats on the international stage, such as the Olympics.

The closest South Korea has come to grabbing a medal in the Olympics was at the Sydney Games 14 years ago, when Cho came in fourth in the men's 40㎞ point race.

With four Asiad gold medals under his belt, Cho hopes to capture the people's imagination one last time with his fifth gold this year at home.

"This is the first global multisport competition to be held here in 12 years," Cho said. "I want to reap the best results this time, and by doing so, draw the attention of the South Korean public toward cycling."

   Cho is also planning on making himself available to junior athletes, sharing with them his wisdom gained over his 27 years of professional cycling. This would be Cho's means of passing down the torch and also of realizing his dreams of nurturing the sport in his home country.

"From now on, I will pass down my know-how to younger riders, who in turn may finally win the gold medal (in the Olympics) and satisfy my lifelong wish for me," the senior cyclist said.

Cho will be competing in the men's omnium starting on Monday at the Incheon International Velodrome. The omnium is a combination of both short- and long-distance races, and consists of the flying lap, 1㎞ time trial, 4㎞ individual pursuit, the 15㎞ scratch, elimination race and the 30㎞ points race.