The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games saw more ‘special’ stars than ever before. In eSports, which became an official sport for the first time, Kim Kwan-woo, who won a gold medal at the age of 44 for the fighting game Street Fighter V, was the biggest inspiration for middle-aged men.Kim has been one of the “old guard” of the fighting game scene since the late 1990s.Street Fighter is a popular game that every man in his 40s in South Korea has probably played at least one game as a kid.
Kim Kwan-woo, who has been playing the game for over 40 years, entered the tournament as the only player in his 40s and the oldest player in an esports squad dominated by teenagers and 20-somethings. Many middle-aged fans may have gotten nostalgic as they watched Kim tear up when his mother, who had scolded him for playing the game, sent him a congratulatory text. The backstory of how Street Fighter pros across the country became Kim’s “sparring partners” was also touching.
Joo Jae-hoon (31, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power), 스포츠토토 who won two silver medals in compound archery, will also be remembered forever .He picked up a bow in 2016, when he joined a compound archery club in Gyeongsan, North Gyeongsang Province, on a whim while still in college. After dominating in club competitions and discovering his “talent” late in life, he passed the 2023 national team trials after five attempts and earned a spot on the team. Unlike other national athletes who live and breathe archery, Joo had a lot of work to do to qualify for the Asian Games.
Joo, who works as a petition police officer for Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, had to take an unpaid leave of absence from his job to train at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village and compete internationally. He left his wife to take care of their two and five-year-old sons while he pursued his “hobby” as a national athlete, and repeatedly said, “Thank you to my wife” and “Thanks to my dear wife,” which made the interviewers laugh. The story of how he became an Asian Games medalist while working a full-time job is inspiring in itself.
Jae-hoon learned about foreign athletes’ postures, equipment tuning, and mental management through YouTube, and he continued to compete in club competitions, “practicing” what he learned and making it his own .He also trained for two to three hours after work, shooting bows at three times the speed of professional players, overcoming the handicap of being an office worker.
In order to protect his livelihood and family, Joo will not be competing for the national team for the foreseeable future. Like esports, the card game “bridge,” which was first adopted as an official sport, attracted attention with the participation of Kim Hye-young, 63, wife of Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Chairman Chung Mong-yoon, the seventh son of the late Hyundai Group Chairman Emeritus Chung Ju-young.