Medal Tally
Team China

Snakes alive! Koreans win archery gold

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Snakes alive! Koreans win archery gold

 Joo Hyun-jung of Korea lets fly during the women's archery team gold medal showdown with host China at the Aoti archery range on Sunday. The Koreans won the second playoff round. Zou Zhongping / China Daily


The gold medal winning Korean women's archery team used the daunting experience of handling snakes as part of its training methods.

Team coach Cho Eun-sin was surprised when news slipped out about the practice after her team won its fourth consecutive Asian Games gold medal in the women's team event at the Aoti archery range on Sunday. China took the silver and India the bronze.

"I wonder how did you find out the secret of our success," said Cho when asked about the team's strange training ritual.

"Actually, (the story) is about 80 percent true. We do have special training to enhance bravery."

It seems the scary, scaly initiative worked. Locked in a battle royal with the young Chinese archers, the three experienced Koreans held their nerve in a second extra period to shoot three 10-point scores.

"They had the ability to reach that level," said Cho. "They got nervous when the scores were tied, but I tried to let them relax and be themselves. In the tiebreak we said this was our chance to win. We did our best and our efforts paid off."

Korea is not the only team to adopt a strange approach to boosting the fortitude of its athletes.

To prepare for the Asian Games, Chinese archers were required to touch a tiger's rear at the zoo.

"We paid attention to controlling our emotions. We can shoot as well as them (the Koreans), but the win came down to who played better under pressure," said Chinese archer Cheng Ming

China's coach, Tian Yulin, said: "The most important thing for the team was to gain hands-on experience, and this was the best training they could get.

"It was their first time in such a tense international competition and they won a silver," said Tian. "There's a gap between Korea and China, but it is very slim. It's just a matter of time before we catch up."

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