Korean Judo Team Hopeful For Olympic Gold

South Korean female judo team has one goal for the 2016 Rio Olympics – ending their 20-year Olympic gold medal drought.

In Brazil, South Korea will have only five female judokas, while the men’s side will have seven. The women’s team will be missing judokas in the U52kg and U78kg divisions, the first time since the 2004 Athens Olympics that South Korea has failed to send athletes in all weight divisions to compete.

Korean head coach Seo Jong-Bok believes the female judokas can win more than just a gold medal.

"I have a good feeling that our female judokas will deliver surprise performances in Rio. These women judokas will make something happen. Trust me.”

Coach Lee Won-Hee, a gold medalist for the nation in 2004, said that it’s about time to end the drought. "In the women’s division, match results depend on daily conditions," he said. "All five women judokas have great skills, and I will put forward my utmost effort to produce gold medalists."

Among five judokas, Kim Jan-Di is considered the favorite to end the gold medal drought. The 25-year-old is the only female judoka on the national team who competed at the London Games. Four years ago, she was eliminated in the round of 16, but this time in Rio, Kim said it will be different. "We are united and determined to win a gold medal. I haven’t forgotten the painful memory in London and whenever I feel tired, I think of that feeling. Now, I know what I should do and how I should perform to win the medal. I’m thinking as though I’m already in the Olympics. We believe our efforts will earn results.” Kim Jan-Di said.

In 2008 Korean won bronze U78kg by Gyeong-Mi Jeong, in Sydney in 2000 three bronze medals by Seon-Young Kim, Sung-Sook Jung and Min-Sun Cho. Cho won gold at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

Reporting via Judo Inside

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