Korea's sole kayaker ends Olympics in middle of the pack

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Korea's sole kayaker ends Olympics in middle of the pack

Korea's Cho Gwang-hee competes in the men's 200-meter kayak singles semifinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. [NEWS1]

Korea's Cho Gwang-hee competes in the men's 200-meter kayak singles semifinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. [NEWS1]

 
Korea's Cho Gwang-hee finished in the middle of the pack in the men's 200-meter kayak singles race at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo on Thursday.
 
Cho finished sixth in the semifinals on Thursday morning with a time of 36.094, 0.980 seconds behind Sandor Totka of Hungary in first place. 
 
The sixth place finish meant Cho advanced to the B final, a placing race without an opportunity to win a medal. In that race, Cho finished in fifth, 0.442 seconds behind Maxime Beaumont of France in first place.
 
Despite the disappointment on the final day, Cho, the only Korean racing in the canoe and kayak events in Tokyo, has had a good tournament. 
 
In the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Cho finished first with a time of 35.048. That's a huge improvement compared to the 2016 Rio Games, where Cho failed to make it out of the preliminary round or the repechage stage.
 
Cho entered the Games ranked at No. 31 in the world for men's kayak 200-meters. He became the first Korean to defend his Asiad title at the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games, having won gold in the men’s kayak single 200-meter race at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, ending Korea’s 24-year Asiad gold medal drought in canoeing.
 
He isn't the only member of the Korean canoeing team, but the other eight sprint and two slalom paddlers failed to earn Olympic berths, leaving Cho heading to Tokyo on his own.
 
 
 

BY JIM BULLEY [jim.bulley@joongang.co.kr]
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