Born on August 15th 1994 (22 years old)
Category : -58 kg
He’s the archetypal gifted fighter. At only 22 years old, Kim Tae-Hun is already twice world champion (2013 and 2015), winner of the Asian Games (2014) and of the Asian Championships (2014). He conquered all these titles in -54 kg before going up permanently to the -58 kg’s at the beginning of 2015-16, right one year before the Games.
Among the 5 Korean qualified athletes, he is the only one to not be professional, but still at the University. It should not last long anymore, as his records are so impressive.
He was defeated only 6 times (over 51 official fights) since he started to compte in Senior in 2013 ! He may have one pet peeve, Shuai Zhao from China, 3rd in the 2012 and 2015 world championships and in the 2016 Asian ones.
The Chinese is the only one to beat twice the Korean fighter, in 2014 and 2015. Nevertheless, Kim Tae-Hun dominated him once in 2014, for their 1st confrontation.
Ranked n°1 in the world for a long time, the Korean man has just been exceeded by Iranian Ashourzadeh Fallah, but for one single reason : he rarely fight in 2016, as all the Korean team (only one Open, in April, in Hamburg).
Born on February 5th 1992 (24 years old)
Category : -68 kg
64 successes over 73 fights, which means an impressive ratio of success of 88% in all his career that begun in 2010 ! Lee Dae-Hoon did not leave crumbs to his opponents. Professional fighter in the best team of the country (Korean Gas), he is the best in -63, a category in which he won twice the world title (2011 and 2013).
In 2012, for his 1st Olympic Games, at 20 years old, he chose to fight in the -58 kg category. Good point ! He obtained the silver medal, beaten in the final by Spanish Gonzalez Bonilla, the only one to stand up to him, with Russian Denisenko.
Over his ten defeats, Lee Dae-Hoon registered three of them against Bonilla (for 2 successes) and three again to Denisenko (for 1 success in the 2012 Olympic ½ finals).
The three comrades follow each other to the -68 kg category and, consequently, will again crossing swords in Rio. Lee Dae-Hoon will also have to deal with Turkish Tazegul, who he has never fought, and Belgian Achab, who he beat once at the end of 2015 but who took him the world n°1 rank.
Born on August 24th 1986 (29 years old)
Category : +80 kg
He is going to participate to his 3rd Olympic Games ! Such a longevity at the high-level in the Taekwondo home country, is a true achievement in itself. But, contrary to his 2 fellowmen, considered as the men to beat, Cha Dong-Min looks more like an outsider in the Gold medal race. The mistake comes from, 1st of all, a lack of information concerning his current shape.
No international occurrence in 2016. In 2015, he lost his last 2 fights. But, it should be noticed that those occurred against 2 Top Guns : Uzbek Shokin, World and Asian running champion, current world n°1, and Gabonese Obame, the 2012 vice Olympic champion and 2013 world champion. He succeeded in beating both of them but it was in 2014. And, his last great international performance goes back to… 2012 and his Asian title.
But let us make no mistake about it. The 2011 vice world champion will not come to Rio to make up the numbers. He is and will remain the 2008 Olympic champion. He is still one the spearheads of the « Korean gas » professional team, the best one in Korea.
Cha Dong-Min wants to erase his 202 Olympics great disappointment, when he was beaten in ¼ finals by Turkish Tanrikulu. Currently ranked N°7 in the world, the Korean champion hasn’t said his last word. And, who knows, maybe the Korean man will outclass everybody in Rio ?
Born on January 29th 1994 (22 years old)
Category : -49 kg
She still was in high school when she won her 1st Senior world championship in 2011 (-46 kg) ! Kim So-Hui succeeded in doing it again 2 years later. However, the double world champion didn’t show up to the 2015 edition. One year ahead of the Games, she was already in an Olympic mood. In 2012, she didn’t qualified because of a 3rd place in the Asian Games.
So she doesn’t want to miss her Olympic entry. Being a professional without going through University, she also fights for the « Korean Gas Team », the current reference. Winner of the 2014 Asian Games, her last important success, she is “only” ranked 10th in the world today. But the ranking is not the truth and, on this particular case, doesn’t especially reflect the quality of the opposition that Kim So-Hui will give to her opponents, word of a double world champion. Nevertheless, her opponents are very strong with, first of all, Chinese Jingyu Wu, the World n°1 and… the running Olympic champion, against whom she lost twice.
Born on April 30th 1988 (28 years old)
Category : -67 kg
It’s simply the running world champion in -73 kg, her favourite category in which she was already vice world champion in 2011. But, for the Games, Oh Hye-Ri chose to weigh down to -67 kg, that she has tested as soon as 2013, rather than go up to +73 kg, category in which she was the 2010 Asian champion.
For the current world n°6, The coming Olympic Games is going to be a story of games leadership, either against French Haby Niare, the World n°1, Russian Baryshnikova or Turkish Tatar, Oh Hye-Ri helds a 1 to 1 card. But the Korean fighter, who belongs to the professional team « Korean Gas », has been through many hard times. Her serenity and her tranquillity make her a lethal weapon. And, right now, she looks very well sharpened…