On the 14th, at the Naju Sports Park, where the roller skating competition of the 104th Jeonnam National Sports Games is being held, Chung Chul-won (27, Andong City Hall) recalled the ‘worst moment of his life’.
Chung became a global laughingstock on the 2nd.
Competing in the 3,000m roller skating relay at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games alongside Choi Kwang-ho (Daegu City Hall) and Choi In-ho (Nonsan City Hall), Chung narrowly missed out on gold.
He was the last runner to cross the finish line, raising his arms in celebration, when Taiwan’s Huang Yi-lin, who had sprinted all the way, stuck out his left foot.
Taiwan had pulled off a dramatic upset, and the Koreans were left shaking their heads.
The fact that Jung and Choi In-ho were denied special benefits for military service added an extra layer of bitterness to their black comedy.
A photo of Chung cheering as he crossed the finish line went viral across Asia. It was literally an ‘overseas topic’.
According to the national team coaching staff and Andong City Hall manager Kim Ki-hong, Chung went into a “panic” the day after the race.
He vomited all morning and had to have a ringer at the hospital in the afternoon.
He refused to go to crowded places, saying, ‘I feel like everyone in the world is talking about me’. For him, travelling home through the airport was another nightmare.
However, ten days later, when he stood in front of reporters, he smiled calmly.
“I had a time of reflection over the past 10 days. I have decided countless times that I will never repeat the same mistakes in the future and that I must have an attitude of doing my best until the end,” he said.
The leaders of the unemployed team, who met with reporters at the National Championships stadium, said they felt sorry for Chung, who had always played with a cool head on the track.
“We had never seen him do a pre-finish ceremony before Hangzhou,” they said.
“To be honest, it’s still not easy to look back at the situation. I feel very sorry not only for myself but also for my fellow athletes, so I think it will remain a trauma,” he said, adding, “I think I was so happy at that moment that I didn’t recognise the finish line.” He smiled bitterly.
“It had been 13 years since roller track had been included in the Asian Games, and I took that opportunity (to represent the country), and I think I lost my cool because I was on my dream stage, my dream moment, and it was right in front of me,” he reflected.
The black comedy didn’t end in Hangzhou. Part 2 took place the day before at the Taiwan National Games.
Hwang Yu-lin, who had won a ‘tearful silver medal’ for South Korea, missed out on winning the 1,000 metres by 0.03 seconds when she performed a trick just before the finish line.
“I’m probably the only person on the planet who understands what she’s going through right now,” laughed Chung, who said he realised the ‘irony’ when he read the news that morning.
“It’s probably the same for Huang Yulin because she’s facing the moment of performing well in a big competition (after the Asian Games) at the National Championships. I understand,” he said.
At his age, Chung has to join the army. There is no roller skating team in the Korean Armed Forces.
He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to continue as an athlete if he goes to the ‘Makgun’.
“I had a great opportunity (to receive special benefits for military service), but in the end, I couldn’t save him because of my mistake. However, I think it’s a good thing to fulfil your military duty as a citizen. I will return with positive thoughts,” he said.
He reiterated, “I am very sorry for Choi In-ho, who was put in a disappointing situation because of me.”
The men’s 10,000 metres excluded race was the first competition since the Asian Games for the three members of the ‘nightmare relay’ 10 days earlier.
Before the race, Jung Chul-won and Choi In-ho were much more nervous than the other athletes, as if the bad memories were still haunting them.
Choi In-ho, Jung Chul-won, and Choi Kwang-ho finished in fourth to sixth place.
After the match, all three smiled brightly as if they were happy. Choi In-ho and Chung Chul-won were seen mingling with other players and joking around with each other.
The painful memories of Hangzhou were turning into ‘memories’. 토토사이트