Paralympic Winter Games
9-18 March

PyeongChang 2018: South Korea’s last Winter Paralympic medal

Wheelchair curling team claimed silver at Vancouver 2010 05 Mar 2018
Imagen
a group of wheelchair curlers celebrate on the podium

South Korea celebrate their silver medal in wheelchair curling at Vancouver 2010

ⒸGetty Images
By EJ Monica Kim and the IPC

“When standing on the podium, I felt like I was on top of the world. It was one of the best moments I have ever lived and a great pleasure because I could help bring honour to my country.”

South Korea are hoping to return to the Paralympic podium on home soil at PyeongChang 2018 after eight years. The last time they did so was in Vancouver, Canada, in 2010, courtesy of the wheelchair curling team which took silver.

Cho Yang-Hyun, one of the leaders of that memorable team, fondly remembers such an historic moment for South Korean Para sports.

“Each time I think about the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, my heart gets filled with joy,” he said. “Just competing at such a big event was already an amazing opportunity.

“When standing on the podium, I felt like I was on top of the world. It was one of the best moments I have ever lived and a great pleasure because I could help bring honour to my country.”

The South Korean wheelchair curling team began his quest for a Paralympic medal with a 6-4 defeat to Canada, but rapidly bounced back by beating Great Britain 7-4 and Germany 9-2.

They followed that up with victories against Italy 9-3 and Switzerland 9-3, and two defeats to Norway 9-6 and USA 9-6. Despite the team´s inconsistency throughout the round robin, South Korea managed to finish among the top four and secure a place in the semi-finals.

The PyeongChang 2018 hosts took revenge on the USA after losing in the previous game, winning 7-5 and qualifying for the wheelchair curling Paralympic final for the first time.

Unfortunately for South Korea, Canada prevailed 8-7 in a hard-fought gold medal match, but history had already been made. It became the second silver for the Asian country at the Winter Paralympics after alpine skier Sang Min Han's second place at Salt Lake City 2002.

South Korea again competed in wheelchair curling at Sochi 2014 but could not advance to the semi-finals. They returned to top places at the 2016 World Championships, where they ended third.

The wheelchair curling competition at PyeongChang 2018 will take place at the Gangneung Curling Centre, which was also the venue for the 2017 Worlds where South Korea finished sixth.

Yang-Hyun said: “It is an honour and a once in a lifetime opportunity for athletes to participate in a Paralympics in their own country. They will compete at a familiar venue on home ground with the home fans' support.”

As for the team´s chances of repeating in PyeongChang what he and his teammates achieved at Vancouver 2010, Yang-Hyun added: “They are working very hard so I believe they will be rewarded with a good result at the Winter Paralympics.

“If they maintain their good shape and level of concentration, I believe they can achieve a remarkable result. Go Team Korea!”

Tickets for PyeongChang 2018 can be purchased here.