Stars of Asiad

(2nd LD) (Asiad) Lee Ha-sung wins S. Korea's first Incheon Asiad gold in wushu

2014/09/20 12:53

INCHEON, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea secured its first gold medal at the ongoing Incheon Asian Games Saturday in wushu, with Lee Ha-sung winning the men's changquan.

Competing in the final at Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium in this western port city, Lee scored 9.71 points for the host's first gold medal.

Jia Rui of Macau was the silver medalist with 9.69 points. Daisuke Ichikizaki of Japan got the bronze with 9.67 points.

Lee earned 5.00 points in quality of management, 2.71 points in overall performance and 2.00 in degree of difficulty.

This was South Korea's first wushu gold in an Asiad since 2002. Yang Seong-chan clinched the gold in the men's taijiquan competition at the Busan Asians Game in 2002.

A total of 11 wushu competitors excited the crowd with a series of impressive martial arts movements.

Japan’s Daisuke Ichikizaki put on an excellent performance, scoring 9.67, only 0.02 point behind Jia Rui, who was largely considered a potential winner.

In an interview after his victorious performance, Lee, a picture of calm, said he wasn't nervous at all despite copmeting on his first international stage.

"I felt just the right amount of tension," he said. "When the Korean spectators clapped and cheered, I got really pumped up."

   Lee was the ninth among 11 finalists to enter the arena. Jia Rui, the gold medal contender, had already put up 9.69 points on the board.

"I told myself I shouldn't get too caught up in the result," Lee said. "I just wanted to give the best I had."

   After executing powerful and clean moves, Lee said he felt he could win the gold before the score went up.

Then the numbers 9.71 flashed, drawing cheers from the crowd.

"I feel good but I am also numb," Lee added.

Lee, who was once considered a martial arts prodigy, had experienced a slump in form due to a pelvis injury. Incheon is his first time competing on the national team.

He said he didn't let his injury last year hold him back.

"I am bound to get injured over my career, and I decided I shouldn't be too affected by it," he said. "I wanted to train that much harder."

   Wushu remains largely a niche sport, and Lee said he hoped his gold medal here would put his sport on the map.

Lee said his next goal is to defend his gold at the next Asian Games. No South Korean has won back-to-back wushu gold medals in Asian Games.

South Korean Lee Ha-sung clinched the gold in the Men's Changquan Event at the 17th Asian Games Wushu competition in Incheon on Sept. 20 2014. (Yonhap)  South Korean Lee Ha-sung clinched the gold in the Men's Changquan Event at the 17th Asian Games Wushu competition in Incheon on Sept. 20 2014. (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr

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