Equestrian team nails best-ever finish

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Equestrian team nails best-ever finish

The South Korean equestrian team recorded a top-10 finish for the first time ever at the Olympics. The four jockeys, Hwang Soon-won, Joo Jung-hyun, Sohn Bong-gak and Woo Jung-ho, placed ninth in the team round of equestrian at the Markopoulo Olympic Equestrian Centre.
They may not have won the prestige of a medal, but the Korean team members are delighted with the results. Although there are many obscure sports that get the spotlight because of the Olympics, they say that equestrian is a sport people don’t care about even during the Olympics.
“People might laugh, but coming in ninth is like the soccer team winning a game in the World Cup. We will try for a medal at the Beijing Olympics, which will equal entering the World Cup semifinal,” said Korean team coach Choi Myeong-jin.
At the Seoul Olympics, the Korean equestrian team members finished last out of 16 teams. They were given automatic entry to the competition because of their host-team status. Athens is the first time that they have qualified for the Olympics.
In Athens, Korea, which was in 11th place, made the finals when the third rider from 10th-place France, Bruno Broucqsault, withdrew because of an injury to his horse.
In the finals, Sohn started with only five penalties, but the team’s best jockey, Woo, racked up 16 penalties on his turn round the track. Hwang completed his turn with only six penalties, momentarily pulling the team up to eighth place. Italy, however, outperformed the Korean team and bumped them down to ninth.
Hwang, Joo and Sohn have also advanced to the fourth round in the individual competitions, and are hoping to finish in the top 20.

by Joe Eun-hye
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