LEE is only 18 years old and already a powerhouse from the Korean school.
We saw you at the World Youth Championships in Poland two years ago where you won two medals, and now with your first international appearance, you qualify straight to the World Cup Final. Did you expect this qualification when you started the season in Shanghai?
No, I didn’t expect it. I believe that my ambition and hard training have enabled me to have a great result.
Is this another demonstration of the high level of competitiveness you have in Korea?
Yes, indeed; I have always made constant efforts in order not to fall behind other athletes. Without it, it would not have been possible for me to be where I am now. And I know that I have to be training hard, and trying to improve my skills at all time, in order to maintain my status.
In Wroclaw, at the last World Cup Stage, you beat IM Dong Hyun in semi-finals and JIN Jae Wang in the final, which eliminated your two teammates from this Final in Paris. How did you feel during that week?
Right after the matches, I had a mixed feeling. I felt great because I won and I felt bad at the same time since IM and JIN could not move up to the Final. But I believe that IM, JIN and I, all of us did our best and we shot great matches. I learnt a lot through these two matches. Overall, it was such a great experience for me.
Now what are your expectations in Paris? Are you aiming for the gold medal?
Yes, my goal is to be a gold medallist. I will do my absolute best for the victory.
Your first match will be against Khairul Anuar MOHAMAD, who you’ve never faced before. How do you prepare for this first encounter?
He is a good athlete and I have watched him shooting several times. It will not be an easy match but I will be ok if I keep training as I do. The match with Khairul Anuar will be interesting. I look forward to it.
Tell us a bit more about your national events in Korea. What was your season like so far and which club or organisation do you shoot for?
I am shooting for Gangwon Physical Education High School Team, and this is my last year with the team. I am currently in the top level in High School League in Korea. Next year, after graduating, I will be joining Kolon Team, which is trained by SEO Oh Seok, former trainer of PARK Sung-Hyun and LEE Sung Jin. LEE Chang Hwan is also part of Kolon at the moment. I am happy to join a professional team next year.
How are archers regarded in Korea? Are you presented as national stars?
Yes and there are lot of great archery stars in Korea. I am still far from their achievements but I will put all my efforts toward hopefully one day also becoming a star. Korea is very strong in archery but it is not that popular generally except for the Olympics and Asian Games. I would like to bring positive things to the sport, play an important role and help raise the profile of archery in Korea.
You will be part of the Korean Team at the World Archery Championships in Belek Antalya later this month. How did you win your qualification for this year’s World Championships?
I have been selected as a World Championships team member after tough times of national selection tournaments starting from the end of last year to the last World Cup Stage in Poland. It was really hard but I could overcome all those difficult times. And finally I could join the national team for the World Championships in Belek. I will try to do my best to keep up with the expectations from the nation so I hope that I will get full support from them.
At only 18 years old, you are already among the best archers in the world given the results you achieved this year. How do you position yourself for the future?
At this moment, my final goal is to be selected as a member of the Korea national team and to compete for Korea at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. Although it is very competitive, I believe that it is possible if I keep my pace and enhance my techniques and skills for international tournaments. That’s my dream and goal.
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