Source: Xinhua

08-08-2008 13:47

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

For the women's archery competition, it's already in South Korea's pocket, while the men's action is wide open, said U.S. team head coach Lee Ki-sik on Wednesday.

Lee, who has been described as the "Guus Hiddink of archery", said South Korea's women had a supreme air of confidence that made them practically unbeatable.

"South Korean women are at such a high level they feel that even if they miss with an arrow, they can always get it back with the next one," Lee said.

"It's like they are adults shooting with elementary school children. No one can beat them with that kind of confidence."

South Korea has built up strong confidence over a successful record of years.

South Korea has won every gold medal in the women's archery since the 1984 Games. Park Sung-hyun is the reigning Olympic champion while Yun Ok-hee set a world record of 119 points from a possible 120 at a World Cup meeting in Turkey in May.

The South Koreans had been pushed by Chinese to the very last arrow in the team event in Athens four years ago, before pulling back with a 10-point to take one point advantage for the gold.

Italy's world champion Natalia Valeeva is able to cause an upset in the individual competition.

"But the men's event is very close," said Lee, who had coached South Korea until the Atlanta Games before moving to Austrlia and the United States. Australia's Simon Fairweather won gold under Lee's guidance in Sydney.

"South Korea are the best but the gap is closing. And this is the Olympics, so anything can happen."

The pressure will be on world number one Im Dong-hyun to win South Korea's first men's individual title, but the world champion is not short of rivals.

Athens champion Marco Galiazzo from Italy and world No. 2 Baljinima Tsyrempilov from Russia are serious contenders but Sky Kim of Australia and young American Brady Ellison also have set their sights on gold.

Kim won the Beijing Olympic test event last year while 19-year-old Ellison took silver in the World Cup in Turkey in May.


Editor:Yang Lina