After the Gymnastics Championship
Hanyang’s gymnastics team
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From the 27th to the 30th of April, the 73rd National Assortment Gymnastics Championship, hosted by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation, took place in Jecheon Gymnasium. Hanyang University’s (HYU's) gymnastics team also actively took part, resulting in the splendid achievement of three students winning medals. News H met these three heros: Kim Tae-hwan (Sport Coaching, 4th year), Im Chang-do (Sport Coaching, 3rd year) and Kim Dong-hwi (Sport Coaching, 2nd year) in the Olympic Gymnasium.
As a representative of Hanyang
Kim Tae-hwan, the team leader, won bronze in rings and horizontal bar, Im received gold in horizontal bar and bronze in parallel bar, and Kim Dong-hwi earned a silver in vault. The National Assortment Gymnastics Championship, the first competition in this year’s season, is especially important to all gymnasts as it determines their pride as university representatives. After the championship was over, all three students showed a sense of relief and regret at the same time. Kim Dong-hwi was injured during the preparing period, so the championship’s result gave him an especially great delight. “I couldn’t prepare as much as my fellow players, but I am extremely relieved with my result. I simply think I was very lucky and will practice harder,” reminisced Kim Dong-hwi.
Now that the National Assortment Gymnastics Championship are over, the three students took a short rest and prepare for the next national games, taking place in August. However, in order to get enough practice during a season, a day is too short for all athletes at HYU. All three students major in Sport Coaching, which is a division within the ERICA Campus in Ansan, but live and practice at the Seoul Campus. Therefore, they wake up at 6 o’clock to get to their classes on time, and return back to Seoul in the afternoon. Then they spend three hours practicing in the Olympic Gymnasium until 10 o’clock. It is indeed a harsh schedule for anyone, trying to find success both in academics and in training, so they tend to rely on each other to get better results.
The life of a gymnast
All three students started gymnastics at a very young age, without any determinate thoughts. Kim Tae-hwan and Im Chang-do both started in their second grade of elementary school on the recommendation of their teachers, solely for fun. They simply did what they were told, found they had talent in it, and arrived at their current destination of HYU. “I didn’t have particular interest in gymnastics until recently. However, I found out that exercising and managing myself physically was fun,” said Kim Tae-hwan. Kim Dong-hwi laughed out, “I started sports because the gym gave us candies.” These not-so-impressive little chances changed their lives - these students who are just about to become professionals.
Despite their passion towards gymnastics, their current situation at school is not as welcoming. The HYU gymnastics team consists of two students from each grade, making a total of eight athletes. However in 2014, this team was on the verge of disperse, due to financial problems within HYU. The gymnastics team, along with the judo and track team, was temporarily eliminated, until a demonstration was made to receive these teams back. After these incidents, the gymnastics team is still lacking financial aid and are continuing the practices through their own willpower. They suffer with countless injuries, especially with their shoulders, backs, and ankles, but are continuing their practices to achieve better results.
All of these students had the same goal – to lead the HYU gymnastics team to victory. They all had their individual dreams as professionals, but at the same time had their own pride as a Hanyangians. “I want to change the perception of people to think of HYU when they hear the word gymnastics,” smiled Kim Dong-hwi. By spending most of the day together as friends, a family, and a team, all three athletes created a single, bright atmosphere. Now these students are off and ready to express themselves in all the tournaments facing them.
On Jung-yun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Lee Jin-myeong
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