It must be all that ginseng: KGC crushes sports scene

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It must be all that ginseng: KGC crushes sports scene

The PR department of the Korea Ginseng Corporation must have been busy in recent weeks, with the KGC taking over the sports scene.

Female golfer Lee Bo-mee, part of KGC’s Cheong Kwan Jang golf team, earned her first victory in the Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association of Japan on March 11.

Then it was the women’s badminton team’s turn. At the National Division Spring Badminton Championship on March 29 in Dangjin, South Chungcheong, the KGC beat Daegyo Noonnopi 3-0 in the team competition finals and reclaimed the title after 2010.

On April 1, golfer Yoo Sun-young claimed this season’s first major golf tournament in the LPGA, gaining attention from all around the world.

The 25-year-old, who is also on the KGC team, beat Kim In-kyung at the Kraft Nabisco Championship at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, and became the ninth Korean lady to claim the major title.

Five days later, the victory baton was handed to the Anyang KGC basketball team in the Korean Basketball League. The men’s team was considered the underdog against regular season champion Wonju Dongbu Promy, who beat the KGC five times and lost only once in the regular season, but wrapped up the best-of-seven final series in Game 6. It was KGC’s first-ever KBL title.

Lastly, on Sunday, the Daejeon KGC women’s volleyball team became champions of the Korea Professional Volleyball League after beating Suwon Hyundai E&C Hillstate in their last match of the best-of-five series. It was the first time that the team achieved a double crown (winning the regular season and the championship series).

The KGC runs five sports clubs - men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s golf, badminton and table tennis.

Considering the KGC table tennis team claimed the men’s singles title and team title at the 65th National Table Tennis Championship last December, it notes that all of their sports clubs have brought trophies home in the past five months.

It was reported that, with all these victories, KGC’s products are now being recognized more and selling well even overseas, thanks to the performance of the women golfers.

The KGC’s main product is obviously ginseng. The image of ginseng goes well with sports - it’s great for energy.

Perhaps the image of ginseng was best represented by the men’s basketball team this season. Before heading to the KBL Finals, KGC coach Lee Sang-beom said that his boys are in good shape after the company provided them with red ginseng extract.

I thought Lee was just making a joke or advertising for the mother company, but it turned out that the KGC basketball team was actually full of stamina and benefited from that advantage to claim the title.

In the final series, the young KGC players challenged the veteran Promy squad with a full-court press and fast-paced attack. The KGC players ran constantly and moved around a lot, which forced the Promy to lose energy at the end of the game.

The KGC’s victory moment didn’t come instantly. Just like ginseng needs to spend years maturing in order to be of high quality, the KGC also went through an initially quiet time in the past.

Lee’s side finished ninth among 10 clubs last season and eighth in the 2009-10 season.

But the team was rebuilding its way to the top. As ginseng farmers wait patiently to collect high-quality ginseng, the KGC management also waited and waited for the basketball team to shine.

It’s only April, but the sports players of the KGC have already had their best season. In order to maintain their success, players should not be satisfied and instead keep heading for new goals, just like ginseng roots grow new stalks every year.


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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