South Korean athletes returned home Monday from the Asian Winter Games in Kazakhstan, where they put together the country’s most successful Winter Asiad performance.
South Korea won its all-time high of 13 gold medals in Almaty and Astana, the two Kazakh cities that hosted events during the competition. South Korea added 12 silver and 13 bronze medals for a total of 38 medals, three more than its previous high.
Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon (right) and figure skater Kwak Min-jeong pose for photos at Incheon International Airport on Monday. (Yonhap News)
Korea matched its stated goal by finishing third behind Kazakhstan and Japan in the gold medals standings. South Korea and Japan both had 13 golds, but Japan grabbed 24 silver and 17 bronze medals.
Kim Jong-wook, head of the South Korean delegation, said the Asiad as a whole wasn’t without some disappointments but added the country did meet its goal.
“We were motivated by our great performance at the Vancouver Winter Olympics last year,” Kim said, referring to South Korea’s most successful Winter Olympics with six gold and 14 medals total. “I think this will help us prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi (in Russia),” Kim added.
At the Asiad, South Korea was led by a slew of multiple gold medal winners. Speed skater Lee Seung-hoon grabbed three gold medals by himself and came within 0.04 seconds of adding a fourth gold in the team pursuit event. Female alpine skier Kim Sun-joo was a surprise double winner, taking the super-G and downhill events. (Yonhap News)