“Of course there’s pressure, but we’re seniors, so we have to shake it off.”
Hwang Sun-hong (Ulsan Hyundai), a key part of Hwang’s team that will be trying to win a third consecutive Asian Games, echoed the sentiment, saying, “It’s something we have to do.” “The seniors played so well in the last two tournaments, and I know that people’s expectations are high because of that,” he said, vowing to fulfill them once again.
When we met at the Hyundai Sports Clubhouse in Dong-gu, Ulsan, on Nov. 16, Uhm Won-sang’s expression was brighter than expected. It’s hard to believe that this is the same athlete who suffered an injury just two months ago that threatened to derail his participation in the Hangzhou Asian Games. He tore a ligament in his right ankle in the first trial match against China on June 15 at Jinhua Stadium in Zhejiang Province, China. Uhm Won-sang, who scored two goals on the day, was unable to play in the second trial and had to return home early.
“It was a feeling I never want to feel again,” he said, recalling the situation. “I was playing well, but I kept thinking, ‘Why me, and why now,'” he said. “When I had my first examination at a local hospital before returning home, I was told that I had a microfracture, so the whole flight home was very difficult.”
Luckily for him, he avoided a fracture and returned to the field against Jeju on March 21, and scored the winning goal in the ‘Hyundai Street Derby’ against Jeonbuk Hyundai on March 19 to secure a 1-0 victory. It was a quicker return and performance than expected. Normally, ligament tears take six to eight weeks to heal and rehabilitate. “I didn’t do anything special, I just took it easy,” Uhm said of his recovery, adding, “The harder I worked, the worse the injury got.” However, he is not yet fully recovered. “My ankle still swells up after the game,” he said, “but the degree of swelling is decreasing,” explaining his current condition.
Ko Young-joon (Pohang Steelers) also tore a knee ligament in the exhibition match against China, while Cho Young-wook (Gimcheon Commerce) and Song Min-gyu (Jeonbuk) were also knocked down by the opponent’s rough play. This led to criticism that the game against China did more harm than good.
However, Uhm Won-sang emphasized that 카지노사이트 “Korea’s three group games will be played at Jinhua Stadium, the same stadium where we played China.” “It’s a big plus to experience the stadium atmosphere, grass condition, and humidity beforehand,” he said. “The majority of our players have not played a game without a video assistant referee (VAR) since their professional debut,” he added, “and this is another valuable experience we gained from the China game.” It is likely that VAR will not be implemented at the Asian Games, as it was in China.
For the national team, the biggest variable is the availability of Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain, PSG). Lee’s participation in the Asian Games is uncertain due to a recent thigh injury. Apart from the injury, there is also no clear agreement between the club and the national team on a loan deal. Lee’s ‘best friend’ Uhm Won-sang said, “I don’t ask him directly if he will play because I don’t want him to feel any pressure,” but added, “However, when I spoke to him (before his injury), I asked him what kind of training he was doing at the national team’s training camp.