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Miracle in 98 Years Created
by Beautiful Challenges

The Korean rugby team has created new history by participating in the international stage for the first time.
Although they ranked only 12th out of 12 countries, they showed fighting spirit until the end among strong teams, receiving great applause.
And, players Jeong Yeon Sik and Lee Jinkyu of Hyundai Glovis also participated in the Tokyo Competition this year.
Let us hear from them about some of the challenges they faced.
Compiled by: Editor’s Office / Photos. K.S.O.C.

You advanced to the finals in the international stage for the first time in Korean rugby history. Tell us how you feel.

We thought the preliminary match with Hong Kong wasn’t going to be easy, but I guess we all were desperate. So when we defeated Hong Kong and secured our spot in the competition, we were thrilled beyond expression. I still feel that way. I had been dreaming about the stage for so long, and I have mixed feelings about the finals being over in a blink of an eye.

After knowing that you made it, how did you practice, and how was the teamwork?

We started the training camp in April, went through physical training and played many games on our own. After the field training in June, we also did a lot of tactical training. Since I worked with most of the players from the team in the university, the military athletic team, and the previous national team, we know each other well, and the teamwork was also good.

In the match against New Zealand in this competition, you made the first and the only score. How did you feel at that moment?

I had only thought of New Zealand as an object of admiration since I started playing rugby, they rank the first or the second in the world. When I scored against them, I was stunned at first. It was indescribably thrilling to see the New Zealander player unable to keep up with me especially while I was running with the ball.

As a player who participated in it, what is the significance of this competition debut, and what do you see as the future potential?

Many people said it was the lowest but the most beautiful ranking. It’s nice to hear that because it feels like they recognize our sweat and efforts, regardless of the result. Personally, I learned my shortcomings and points to improve, and it was also an opportunity for me to grow more as a player. In particular, I believe that Korean rugby has proved its potential through this competition. We are prepared to try for a medal next time.

Please tell us how you feel about making to the finals.

I didn’t get to participate in the preliminary games in Asia. I was selected this April through the member selection. As would be for everyone else, participating in the international stage was a very honorable and exciting experience. I was amazed that so many people showed interest and support for the less popular sport of rugby.

What do you think is the charm of rugby and what made you fall for it?

I think it is the toughest and the most thrilling ball game. When I was young, I was stronger and faster than kids of my age, and I would get physically rough when playing soccer or basketball. I often got scolded to play gentler. Then, when I played rugby, people were crazy about that roughness, and I would get compliments after games. That is when I completely fell in love with rugby.

What was the preparation for this competition like, and what was the schedule like when you were in Japan?

I was selected for the national rugby 7s right after finishing my games in Korea for rugby 15s, so I had to control my weight. It was tough to lose 10kg in a short time while going through so much training. When I went to Tokyo, I paid much attention to taking care of my condition and injury. The games were at 10 in the morning and 6 in the afternoon, so I had to get up early on the match days. When I returned to the athlete’s village after the games, it was past 8 pm. I had to go to bed right after the meetings. It was a hectic schedule.

What do you think is the significance of participation in the competition this time, and what do you see as the future potential?

I think what was most meaningful was that rugby became better known to people in Korea. I hope that this can be the opportunity to attract more players so we can train professionally, divided into rugby 15s and rugby 7s. Then we can hope for better results in the future.



The blood, sweat, and tears
that only national teams
would know

The whole nation was touched by the outstanding skills and passion of our players who participated in the Tokyo Competition.
The players of Hyundai Motor Group, especially, achieved outstanding results in this competition,
from the archery team that kept up the reputation of Korean archery to the beautiful lowest-ranking rugby team.
The HMG Group Broadcast had a chance to listen to the vivid stories of Hyundai Motor Group athletes who participated in the national team.
The following is what transpired at the filming site.
Article: Editor’s Office / Photo: Kim Jung-ho

Heroes of the competition gathered in one place

From early morning, many people are busy moving around in Hyundai Steel Archery Center. It’s the people preparing for filming for HMG Group Broadcast, installing about 10 cameras, etc. After a while, cameras set in various angles were arranged, and lights were installed. Today’s filming was a time for “Story of the Tokyo Competition,” listening to the stories of the national players of Hyundai Motor Group who participated in and brought excellent results from the competition.

Those who enter the filming set at last are all familiar faces. They are Jeong Yeon Sik of Hyundai Glovis Rugby Team, Kang Chae-young of Hyundai Mobis Archery Team, and Oh Jin-hyek of Hyundai Steel Archery Team.

“One, two, three!” When the PD signed the cue, the filming started with a comment of MC Kim Beom-yong who debuted as a comedian. “Today, we have the three hottest people in Korea. Oh Jin-hyek, Kang Chae-young, and Jeong Yeon Sik, the heroes of the Tokyo Competition that ended a while ago. Now, we're going to listen to their “hot” stories.” Oh Jin-hyek, who made a dramatic closure at the end of men’s archery final by shouting “End!” started the show by shouting “Start!” this time.

Blood, sweat, and tears behind the great performance

When the discussion started, the MC asked Jeong to “describe rugby in 20 seconds.” “Rugby is a game in which a goal is scored by taking an oval ball, crossing the goal line, and hitting the ball on the ground. There are 15-player games and 7-player games, and the international competition is a 7-player game,” he answered. When he was asked how the impact was when a player tackles another, he shocked everyone by saying “it's like bumping into a 1-ton truck.”

Then the show went into detail about what the players are up to, and stories related to the Tokyo Competition. The archery players told stories of their efforts and how they won the gold medal, such as earthquake training to adapt to the Japanese environment, creating a set similar to the one in Japan, and how they managed with mental health, etc. Kang showed her own gold medal, the one she won through hard work such as drawing the bow as many as 500 times a day. Oh, the oldest of the men’s archery team, told the story behind the selfie cut that became the most beautiful picture of the competition. Then the mic returned to Jeong. He was asked how he felt the moment he scored the first goal in Korean history and answered, “At first, I was confused. Then I thought we can do it, too.” And he talked about the potential of Korean rugby.

The athletes also told fun stories that could not be seen in the competition, such as the most memorable moments of the Tokyo Competition, answers to questions that employees and fans sent, etc. Thanks to that, the filming that went on for two hours was done in a friendly way till the end.

After the filming, we asked Jeong Yeon Sik, the national rugby player of Hyundai Glovis, how he felt about appearing on the show. “It is such an honor to be appearing on the show. It was awkward, though, because I haven’t received so much attention before. I feel more nervous being on a show than playing in games. I hope that this attention will also lead to more interest in Korean league in the future. With the participation this time as a momentum, I want to show better results in international games.” Although he seemed calm during filming, Jeong when it was over said he had felt very nervous. Perhaps it was because of the relief he felt, but he had a bright smile on his gentle young face instead of the tough look from the rugby contest.



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