“Finals, I have to go”… a 16-year-old’s ‘golden dream’

The average age is 15.5 years old. 안전놀이터 The South Korean skateboarding team, made up entirely of teenagers, is aiming for a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

First recognized as an official sport at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, skateboarding is divided into two main disciplines: street and park. Street involves performing tricks on a variety of structures, including stairs, rails, rails, slopes, benches, and walls, while park involves performing aerial tricks on a steep incline in a bowl-shaped arena. Both disciplines require two 45-second performances to reach the finals, with four gold medals up for grabs, one for each gender.

The 16-year-old pair of Jung Jeong-hoon and Cho Hyun-joo are the favorites in street and park, respectively. They have been working hard on their last-minute preparations ahead of their first Asian Games. Jeong Jeong-hoon recently competed at the World Championships in Switzerland, while Cho Hyun-joo traveled to Italy for a training camp.

Although this will be their first time competing at the Asian Games, both athletes are veterans of the sport. They have been skateboarding since the lower grades of elementary school and have plenty of experience on the international stage, including Olympic qualifiers and world championships. “First of all, we have to go to the final, and we’re aiming for a podium,” said Jeong. “We’ll show everything we’ve been preparing for years without making any mistakes,” he said.

The key is to adapt quickly. With only 45 seconds to showcase all of their skills, there are many variables that can affect their scores, such as movement, jump height, and landing timing. “The concrete and cement in the stadiums are also different,” says Cho, “some are soft and some are hard, so the wheels on your board will depend on the material and the amount of friction.”

Injury management is also important, as athletes have to learn tricks on high and dangerous terrain. “Because of the nature of the sport, there are a lot of moves where you turn the skateboard with your feet, so I often roll my ankle,” says Cho Hyun-joo, who has recently been treated for an ankle injury. Jeong Ji-hoon also injured his wrist and elbow while practicing a new trick and was in a cast for a while. “Injury management is our number one priority no matter what competition we’re competing in,” said Kim Young-min, who coaches the athletes.

Jeong Jeong-hoon and Cho Hyun-joo are both “national team members” and “students” wearing the Taeguk mark. They entered high school this year and head to school in the morning and head to the stadium after school. When they’re not on the board, they hang out with their peers, talking about games and idols. “We’ve been cheering for them at school since we heard they were going to the Asian Games,” says Cho Hyun-joo, adding, “My classmates asked me if I’d like to watch the games, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to because it’s during my exam period.”

The skateboarding team leaves for Hangzhou on the 20th. Park will be held on the 24th and street will be held on the 26th.

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