South Korea is a sports-loving country. Its sports infrastructure is solid and wide-ranging. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, it reached the 16th place with 20 medals, showing good performance. In 2018 it achieved 7th place in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. In 2012, at the Olympic Games in London they managed to reach 5th place, thus being one of the countries with the most gold medals.
South Korea has positioned itself as a world power because its people love sport, and the government makes strategic investments in order for people to be encouraged. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism strives to seek out young sports promises, train them and help them improve their skills. In addition, they are responsible for promoting sports practices among citizens. Physical education is promoted in schools, seeking to convey a sense of good health and competitiveness. Korean public schools may have up to 8 hours of physical education and sports per week; this is not mandatory, but a minimum of 3 hours per week is set. South Korea is the country with the highest number of hours in physical education in Asia.
But do you know which are the most popular sports today?
Translation by: Laura Fino, Angie Salavarria and Sara Varon.
As a national sport we have Taekwondo, an Olympic sport widely practiced in South Korea. It stands out for the variety of its kicking techniques. Taekwondo is based on martial arts such as Chinese kung fu or wu shu (open hand techniques), taekkyon (form and performance of the blows with the foot). South Korea won four gold medals in Beijing, becoming the favorites. Additionally, Hwang Kyung Seon stands out since she has been a world champion twice, out of 59 fights recorded she won 46.
As an international sport we have soccer, which has a professional league (The K League) played every year from March to November, with 12 regional teams participating. Koreans love soccer, whether it’s playing it or watching it. There are also many internationally known Korean footballers such as Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min; Park Ji-sung, who played for Manchester United; and Ki Seung-yueng, at Newcastle United.
Baseball is not far behind, they also have a league (KBO League) that has about 10 permanent teams. According to figures, more than 8 million people attended the stadiums to enjoy baseball games. Players who stand out internationally are Choo Shin-soo of the Texas Rangers, Oh Seung-hwan of the Colorado Rockies, and Ryu Hyun-jin of the Dodgers from Los Angeles.
Other activities such as marathons, with more than 20 thousand people, excursions and mountaineering also stand out. Thanks to the topology of Korea there are many places for climbing. Cycling is also one of the most popular sports because it is environmentally friendly.
South Korea is a highly athletic country. Its inhabitants are committed to these and always leave their name up. In Korea, many sports are practiced, however, not even half of them were talked about in this post.
Tell us, do you practice, or would you like to practice a sport originated from Korea? What other sports of Korean origin do you know?
Written by: María Pertuz
Edited by: Katalina García