“I will break 21 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle,” Ji Yoo-chan (21, Daegu Metropolitan City Hall) said before the Hangzhou Asian Games.
After becoming the first Korean swimmer to break 21 seconds in the men’s 50-meter freestyle preliminaries (21.84), he raised his goal to “challenge for gold and the Asian record (21.67).”
Ji Yoo-chan won the men’s 50-meter freestyle final in 21.72 seconds at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Friday at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Swimming Pool in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China.
He only needs to break the Asian record held by Shinri Shioura (JPN).
However, the two goals already achieved were a gift to Korean swimming.
Ji Yoo-chan won the first gold medal for Korean swimming at the Games.
He became the first South Korean to win the men’s 50-meter freestyle at an Asian Games in 21 years, since Kim Min-seok (tied for first) in Busan in 2002.
Speaking after the final, Ji said, “After the preliminaries, I said I was going for the gold, but I wasn’t sure about the gold either. My qualifying time was good, so it meant that I was greedy,” he confessed, adding, “I’m really happy that I was able to fulfill that goal.”
Ji Yuchan, who was competing in his first Asian Games, was not nervous at all.
“I felt really good, and I wanted to play,” he said.
Once the competition got underway, Ji Yuchan clocked 21.84 in the preliminaries to set a new Games record of 21.94, 0.10 seconds faster than the previous mark set by Ning Zetao (CHN) at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
At the same time, Ji shaved 0.32 seconds off the Korean record (22.16) held by Yang Jae-hoon (Gangwon Province).
In the final, he increased his speed and touched the touchpad in 21.72 seconds.
Ho Ian Yan-tou (HKR), who finished in 21.87, was second, while Fan Zhan-liu (CHN), who won the 100-meter freestyle the previous day with an Asian record of 46.97, was third in 21.92, 0.20 seconds slower than Ji Yuchan.
“I’m even happier to win in China,” said Ji Yuchan, “and the support of my teammates and Korean fans gave me more strength.”
China swept all seven gold medals on the first day of swimming competition on Thursday.
The first two events on the 25th also saw Chinese athletes top the podium.
Ji Yuchan was the first swimmer to break China’s gold medal dominance.
“I thought to myself, ‘I want to break China’s winning streak,’ and I did it,” he said. It feels good,” he laughed.
South Korean swimming, which won two bronze medals on the first day of competition (Hwang Sun-woo in the 100-meter men’s freestyle and Lee Ju-ho in the 100-meter backstroke), owes its gold to Ji Yoo-chan.
“I hope the Korean swimmers behind me will also win gold,” he said, showing his affection for the Korean swimming team.
He was right, as the Korean men’s team won the 800-meter freestyle relay in a new Asian record time of 7:01.73.
“The freestyle swimmers like Lee Ho-joon, Kim Woo-min, and my younger brother Hwang Sun-woo are working hard and getting good times, so I’m encouraged,” Ji Yoo-chan said after the preliminaries, but this time it was Ji Yoo-chan who was encouraging his teammates.
Of course, the biggest winner was Ji Yoo-chan herself.
“This gold medal is an opportunity for me to work harder and love swimming,” he said, “I feel really good today, but I won’t be satisfied with this. I will continue to challenge myself to break the Asian record.” 파워볼분석