South Korean backstroke powerhouse Lee Joo-ho (28-Seogwipo City Hall) set a new South Korean record to stand on the podium at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
Lee clocked 1 minute, 56.54 seconds in the men’s 200-meter backstroke final of the swimming management event at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Aquatic Sports Arena in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on Monday to claim silver.
His time was 0.23 seconds better than the previous South Korean record of 1:56.77, which he set at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Five years ago, Lee Ju-ho finished fifth in the men’s 200-meter backstroke at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, but this time around, he made a statement with a podium finish.
It had been 29 years since a South Korean athlete had won a podium finish in the men’s 200m backstroke at an Asian Games since Lee Sang-joon won gold in Hiroshima in 1994.
Lee said, “After breaking the Korean record in Tokyo, I had some difficulties and thought I was in a plateau. I pushed myself a lot to break the record, and I’m proud that it paid off this time,” he said. “Next year, we have the Doha World Championships and the Paris Olympics, and if we work hard, I think we can do even better than we have now.”
The gold medal was won by Xu Zhai (CHINA), who touched the touchpad in 1:55.37. It was Xu’zai’s second straight victory and her fifth overall.
“Xu Zhai kept showing really good times (at this meet), so I said, ‘Let’s try to follow him in the 200 meters, and if I can see his feet, I think I can beat him,'” said a smiling Lee. “I worked really hard, and it was really nice to see second place on the scoreboard. It was even better to break the record.”
Lee took home two silver medals (men’s 200-meter backstroke and men’s 400-meter medley relay) and two bronze medals (men’s 100-meter backstroke and mixed medley relay).
“It would have been better to win a gold medal, but I’m still happy with the silver,” said Lee. “At the World Championships two months ago, I blamed myself a lot for my poor results. I was thinking a lot about how to improve my swimming, but I think I’ve grown a lot since then,” he said.
“When I was preparing for the Asian Games, I went back to the basics and trained really hard, and it was a lot of hard work, so it’s a more meaningful Asian Games, and I’m proud of the Korean team for doing so well,” he added.
Korea’s best-ever performance at the Games marked the start of a new era for the sport.
“We can’t say we’re on par with China and Japan, but we’re following them closely. If Korean backstrokers work really hard, I think they can do even better at the 바카라사이트 next Asian Games or Olympics.” “Actually, I will work hard until the next Asian Games. I apologize to my juniors, but I think they should look ahead to the next one,” she laughed out loud.