South Korean Im breaks world record
Updated: Tuesday, 31 Jul 2012 10:10
Archery superpower South Korea delivered a stinging reminder of its strength on Friday with two world records on the opening day of the London Olympics.
Im Dong-hyun, who lost the world number one ranking to American Brady Ellison in 2011, shot 699 to break his own 72 arrow world record in the men's ranking round, and combined with Oh Jin-hyek and Kim Bub-min to set a new team record of 2,087.
Kim's score of 698 would also have broken the previous world record of 696, while Oh brought up the rear on 690. Archers can score a maximum of 10 points per arrow by striking the gold circle at the centre of the target.
The United States, currently the world's number one team and pre-Olympic favourites for gold in London, finished the day ranked fourth behind France and China.
Im, who has strong myopia and has to aim at a 'blob' of colour on the target 70 metres away, was pleased to finish top of the ranking round but was characteristically cool on how the competition would play out.
"It's only the first round so I won't get too excited about it," he said.
Korea head coach Jang Young-sool was pleased with the scoring on a damp day at Lord's cricket ground, and said that while it was no problem to shoot in the drizzling rain it was a challenge to keep track of the changing conditions.
"You can't really expect to break the world record but it's not a big shock or surprise," he told Reuters. "It was good scoring conditions today, we'll just rest and then get ready for the team competition tomorrow."
South Korea's men have won the team titles at the last three Games but never the individual Olympic gold medal.
Kim Soo-nyung, who won the individual women's gold in 1988 and three Olympic team golds, said the conditions were ideal for high scores.
"They might have expected to shoot well because it's a little bit cloudy and a little bit rainy, this weather is so nice to shoot in," she told Reuters. "Most world records are set in this kind of weather.
"Im, and the whole Korean team, have a lot more confidence now. You could see it today, they look a lot more confident and they believe they can do it."
While it was not the start the United States had been hoping for, Arizona bowman Ellison said they were happy enough with how they shot, even if the scores could have been better.
Ellison shot 676 while team mate Jacob Wukie scored 673 and Jake Kaminski 670.
"Korea are always top of the ranking round, they're a great team, so we kind of expected them to be on top," Ellison said. "But we're shooting good and having fun and that's what we came here to do."