Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Jang Jang-ran visited the Gungsu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium on Wednesday, where the men’s singles table tennis qualifiers for the Hangzhou 2022 Para Asian Games were held. He watched Jang Young-jin (Class 3-Seoul City Hall), Baek Young-bok (Class 3-Jangsugun Para Sports Association), Kim Ki-tae (Class 11-Busan Para Sports Association), and Kim Chang-ki (Class 11-Busan Para Sports Association) compete in the first round of qualifying in the morning.
Holding a Korean flag in his left hand, Jang enjoyed the dominant performance of the Korean athletes, even waving the flag to cheer them on.
“You tried so hard,” Jang said. Even though the Games have been postponed by a year, everyone is in the same situation, so I hope they can achieve good results as they have prepared,” he said. “The day before, I met with a nutritionist at the cafeteria and was introduced to the diet, which was very appetizing. I hope you enjoy your lunch and have a satisfying competition.”
Vice Minister Zhang, who is attending his first Para-Asian Games, 안전놀이터said that the passion for victory between able-bodied and disabled athletes does not seem to differ much.
“Before I came to the games, I had my own imagination about the Para athletes, but (when I got there), I saw that the Para athletes were just as active and committed as the able-bodied athletes,” he said. “The Korean athletes showed an overwhelming performance, so I was able to relax and watch the games without any tension. I think it is important for each athlete to show their physical and mental strength within each sport class.”
Vice Minister Zhang, a weightlifting legend, also watched other athletes compete and was reminded of the ‘athlete’s mind’.
“When an athlete from another country who was winning against a Chinese athlete felt pressure from the home crowd and made mistakes, I think any athlete, even if it’s not necessarily a Korean athlete, can empathize with that feeling,” he said.
As Vice Minister Jang watched the Korean team’s first round of qualifying, table tennis standouts Kim Young-gun (Sport Class 4 – Gwangju Para Athletic Association) and Kim Jung-gil (Sport Class 4 – Gwangju Para Athletic Association), as well as Jang Young-jin, Baek Young-bok, Kim Ki-tae, and Kim Chang-gi, won their first matches and began their race for gold.