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South Korea Beats China In League Of Legends Semifinal At Asian Games 2022 By 2-0

7 months ago By AI Smith

One of many male South Korean athletes competing at the Asian Games in Hangzhou under the pseudonym “Faker” who is a video game prodigy who will be exempt from the nation’s usual conscription if they take home the gold.

As part of the nation’s efforts to protect itself against North Korea, all physically capable men in South Korea between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to serve for roughly 1.5 to 2 years in the military.

Each year, the military inducts tens of thousands of young South Koreans to serve their country. However, if athletes or artists are deemed to have enhanced national prestige—for instance, by taking home an Olympic medal, an Asian Games gold medal, or other prestigious international or national honor—they may be granted an exception.

Son Heung-min, a striker for Tottenham Hotspur, received the exemption when his Korean team won the gold medal at the most recent Games in Jakarta in 2018. However, not everyone has succeeded.

Tennis player Kwon Soon-woo, 25, made headlines last week after he smashed his racquet out of irritation during a singles match. On Thursday, when he and his men’s doubles partner lost to an Indian pair in the semi-finals, he forfeited his final opportunity to receive an exemption thanks to these Games.

Suga, a K-pop sensation and rapper for the boy band supergroup BTS, started the process of enlisting last month in order to fulfill his required military service, becoming the third member of the group to do so.

A few years ago, the military service law was changed to allow a few K-pop megastars to postpone their mandatory military service until age 30, but not altogether. This was done since a sizable portion of the populace opposed granting stars like BTS special treatment.

After defeating Taiwan 2-0 in front of a cheering crowd to win gold in the multiplayer fight game “League of Legends” category, superstar gamer “Faker” and his Korean teammates rejoiced at the Esports venue.

‘Faker,’ whose true name is Lee Sang-hyeok, was simply a reserve for the final owing to illness, according to the organizers of the Games, and did not enter the game, as was the case in the semi-final. However, because he participated in a prior round, he still stood with his teammates on the podium. They all now formally qualify for exemption from Korea’s requirement that young men serve in the military as Asian champions.

“I was sad not to be playing in the gold medal match,” Faker said. “However, from a team point of view, everyone did a good job, so I think winning the championship is the best however it is done.”

Olympic shot put champion Gong Lijiao pleased home supporters on the opening day of athletics by winning her third consecutive Games gold with a throw of 19.58 meters, while teammate Song Jiayuan took home silver.

On Friday, the hosts once again won gold medals in every discipline, including track cycling, artistic gymnastics, and tennis, where Zheng Qinwen, a player who will compete in the quarterfinals of the 2023 U.S. Open, defeated her countrywoman Zhu Lin 6-2, 6-4 to take home the women’s singles crown.

“The feeling was incredible,” she said. “I’m really happy about that. That was not an easy match. As you can see, there’s a lot of emotion on the court for both of us.”

Earlier on day six, India’s shooters had another successful day, setting a new world record while winning gold with their men’s 50m rifle team. Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Swapnil Suresh Kusale, and Akhil Sheoran won gold with a combined score of 1,769 points, eight more than the previous record established by the United States in November and six more than China.

Kusale, 28, said it was a “great experience” with a “great team”. “We are like brothers,” Kusale said. “We help each other and stick together.”

Earlier, Kim Woomin, 22, won his second gold in Hangzhou and second in total, in the 800m freestyle, also in a Games record time. “If I’m always focused on the process and get good times and standings when it’s time to compete, the military exemption will follow from that so I just focused on the race without thinking much about it,” Kim said.

The men’s basketball team, one of the top-ranked sides in the competition, stand a chance of repeating their gold from the 2014 Incheon Games, after their bronze in Jakarta in 2018.

“Since our country has its own military service system, there are benefits for athletes in big international competitions like this,” said head coach Choo Il Seung, after his side beat Qatar 76-64 in a preliminary round match, despite the local crowd strongly favouring Qatar.

“We have players (in the current squad) who have been exempt from military service by winning gold medals in past editions of the games, but… we also several players who have not yet avoided military service.

“So from an athlete’s point of view, I think there could be a lot of good motivation for these games.”

But for some this would come too late. “I’m actually in the military with one month until I’m discharged so it is not something I am particularly concerned about,” said point guard Heo Hoon, 28. “But of course, because a gold medal gives one an exemption, and we have many who haven’t done their service yet… we should perform at our best and get the gold.”

Asian Games 2023: Medal tally countrywise

RankCountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1China935426173
2South Korea24244088
3Japan19313282
4India8121333
5Thailand73919
6Uzbekistan6101531
7Hong Kong China5121532
8Chinese Taipei54716
9Iran391022
10North Korea35412
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