Korean Judo Champ Retires

Former world judo champion Wang Ki-Chun announced that he would retire from international competition and prepare for a new career starting next year, coaching.

Wang didn’t qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, to be held in August, and decided to step away from active competition because of that.

"I decided to retire from the national team after the Olympics trials," he told Yonhap News Agency. "My records with the national team are now all in the past. I will take on a new challenge in my life as a coach for amateurs."

Wang, also the 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist U73kg category, was looking for his third Olympic appearance in Rio. Now competing in the U81kg division, Wang didn’t even get past the second round at the Olympic trials.

For his coaching career, Wang said he opened a judo gym in Daegu on Friday. However, he will compete until the end of this year because of his contract with the Yangju City Hall judo club. Wang added that he is thinking of competing for another club, but nothing has been determined at this moment.

"He will remain a Yangju City Hall club judo athlete for a while," said the club’s head coach Jang Moon-Kyung. "As a coach, I’m willing to help him in his new career."

Here is more on his career from Judo Inside:

Wang, 27, first started judo in 1995 and rose to stardom after taking gold U73kg at the 2007 World Judo Championship in Rio. The following year, he grabbed a ticket to the 2008 Summer Games after beating defending Olympic champ Lee Won-Hee. However, Wang settled for silver in Beijing after injuring his ribs in the quarterfinals.

Wang then triumphed at the 2009 worlds in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and added a bronze medal at the 2010 worlds in Tokyo. In his second Olympics in London, Wang failed to reach the podium as he lost the semi final to winner Mansur Isaev and got injured to his elbow, but still fought the bronze medal fight against Ugo Legrand which he lost.

In 2013, Wang moved up U81kg and created a compelling rivalry with the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kim Jae-bum.

Kim announced his retirement in May.

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