“At the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, I lost in the individual final and won a silver medal, but I will definitely win gold this time.”
That’s what men’s sabre fencer Oh Sang-wook (26, Daejeon Metropolitan Government) is saying ahead of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
Oh made his Asian Games debut five years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia, while still in college.
He was dubbed “Korea’s first high school national sabre champion” when he first wore the flag in 2015, and since the end of 2017, he has won numerous medals at the Fencing International Federation (FIE) World Cup and the International Grand Prix, raising expectations for the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.
He made it all the way to the final, where he hoped to win the individual gold medal at his first Asian Games, but his opponent in the final was senior national team member Koo Bon-gil (Korea Sports Promotion Organization).
Koo was trying to win his third consecutive Asian Games individual title, and Oh Sang-wook battled him to a nail-biting finish.
After trailing 12-14 and coming back to tie the game at 14-14, Oh conceded the final point to give his ‘older brother’ the gold medal.
“I fought hard, but I lacked experience and know-how, and that’s why my brother won,” said Oh, who admitted his defeat, but has since honed his skills to become a world-class player.
He won the individual title at the 2019 World Championships and climbed to No. 1 in the world rankings, cementing his place as the new face of Korean men’s sabre.
He also won the individual title at the Asian Championships in 2019 and 2022.
At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he was one of the favorites for gold, he failed to make the podium in the individual event, but scored the final point to secure Korea’s gold medal in the men’s sabre team event, giving him his first Olympic gold medal.
While the Asian Games were postponed by a year due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, giving him more time to prepare, Oh suffered a major injury.
Last November, he underwent surgery for a torn ankle ligament that kept him out of competition for a while.
But with the Asian Games on the horizon, he spurred on his recovery and was back on the piste in just over three months, winning his first career title at the International Grand Prix in Seoul in April.
After cruising through the individual competition that day, he faced his biggest final hurdle in the final. It was the ‘final return match’ against Koo Bon-gil.
A more mature Oh Sang-wook than he was five years ago, he turned a one-point deficit into an eight-point victory (15-7) and finally won his first individual gold medal at the Asian Games. 스포츠토토