The South Korean archery team displayed its supreme skill at the 2023 Hangzhou Games, securing 4 gold medals, 4 silver medals, and 3 bronze medals. The team’s achievements included an impressive 7-year streak of gold medals in the Recurve Men’s Team event and a long-awaited triumph of a combined gold in the Recurve Mixed Team event, a feat not achieved in 13 years. Athlete Im Sihyeon added to the glory by winning gold medals in the Mixed Team, Women’s Team, and Women’s Individual events. This extraordinary performance secured the team’s place in history, marking a triumphant return of archery dominance after 37 years.
Behind the brilliance of South Korea’s archery team, often referred to as ‘shin gung,’ meaning bow masters, lies the unwavering support and encouragement from all Koreans. Hyundai Motor Group has been a steadfast supporter of the Korean archery team since 1985. The group has gone to great lengths to create an environment where athletes can excel by organizing international archery competitions, providing top-of-the-line equipment, and ensuring the quality of bows and arrows. This has been the longest-running sponsorship by a Korean corporation according to the standards of single-sport sports organizations in the country, and Hyundai Motor Group takes immense pride in this enduring partnership.
Notably, Mr. Chung Mong-Koo, the honorary chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, served as the chairman of the Korean Archery Association for four terms from 1985 to 1997 and continues to hold the position of honorary chairman. Under his leadership, the foundation for Korea’s archery excellence was laid. He played a pivotal role in expanding the archery community, discovering talented individuals, and promoting the localization of equipment, all of which contributed to Korea’s archery supremacy. Notably, he initiated the use of sports science equipment and computerized programs to analyze athletes’ training and performance, making archery a more systematic and scientific sport. Mr. Chung also encouraged and provided traditional Korean food to athletes during international training, ensuring their well-being. His support extended to procuring water from different regions to cater to athletes’ preferences during international competitions, displaying unwavering commitment to the athletes.
From 2005 to 2019, Mr. Chung Euisun, Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, has been the Chairman of the Korean Archery Association, and his re-election in the 2021 Archery Association election reflects the enormous trust he enjoys within the archery community. Chairman Chung has contributed significantly to the elevation of South Korean archery on the global stage through policies that focus on improving the sport’s competitiveness through sports science, establishing a system for nurturing outstanding athletes, and popularizing archery among the masses. He has also supported the internationalization of Korean archery by dispatching Korean coaches and producing educational videos and assisting in the development programs of the Asian Archery Federation. Chairman Chung also emphasized transparency and fairness in the operation of the Archery Association. National team members are selected solely through competition based on their current performance, disregarding past achievements. Similarly, coaching staff is selected through open recruitment. When the Hangzhou Games were postponed by a year, the athletes were required to recompete based on their current performance. Chairman Chung actively supported the athletes by hosting the Hyundai Motor Chung Mong-Koo Archery Tournament on a large scale at the end of August, ensuring that they maintain their competitive edge until the Hangzhou Games.
Hyundai Motor Group is proactive in introducing cutting-edge equipment for athletes. For instance, the Precision Shooting Machine for Recurve used at the 2020 Tokyo Games could precisely hit the same spot on the target at 70 meters, emulating the accuracy of actual competition. This machine features a precision actuator that can consistently fire arrows at angles and intensities set in advance. It allowed archers to accurately select the highest quality arrows among those used in the competition.
In the latest development, Hyundai Motor Group created the Shooting Machine for Compound Archery to support the Korean national archery team. The 2023 Hangzhou Games features both recurve and compound archery events. While Games archery consists only of recurve events, the inclusion of compound events is on the horizon. The Korean national archery team achieved silver in the compound category at the 2014 Incheon Games, gold at the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, and this year, at the 2023 Hangzhou Games, secured three silver and two bronze medals. Hyundai’s latest equipment significantly contributed to our athletes showcasing their world-class skills in the compound category.
The Compound Shooting Machine utilizes a versatile stand capable of securing complex compound bows. This flexibility makes it easy to adapt to each archer’s personal bow. Furthermore, to accommodate situations where the testing location needs to change, the machine’s main unit was made more compact, and the camera for verifying arrow placement was separated for improved mobility. The machine also allows precise mapping of the bow’s tension curve, enabling archers to monitor their bow’s condition. By measuring the force exerted when drawing the bowstring, any deviations from the norm can indicate issues with the bow.
Hyundai Motor Group’s advanced manufacturing technology is crucial for supplying personalized equipment that aligns with the individual characteristics of each athlete. Compound archers often attach small auxiliary devices to the bowstring serving as a reference point for aiming when the bowstring is pulled closer to the eye.
These auxiliary devices must be small and lightweight to minimize their impact on the archer’s movements. Hyundai Motor Group utilized 3D printing technology to create custom auxiliary devices that met the archers’ specifications. While these devices are small, their intricate production was accomplished using skilled craftsmanship. The technology can produce equipment that has been discontinued or is no longer available, ensuring that athletes can always have what they need.
Even small factors can significantly influence outcomes in archery. The slightest deviation when an arrow departs from the bow can result in a substantial difference in where it lands on the target. Therefore, a good match between the archer and the bow is vital. To achieve a seamless connection between the archer and the bow, it is essential to create grips (handles) that match the archer’s hand shape.
Hyundai Motor Group has been crafting personalized 3D grips for each archer. These grips are made in various materials to cater to the archer’s preferences. Whether it’s resilient resin, PA12 material used for 3D printers, aluminum-polyamide composite Alumide, wooden grips for a comfortable feel, or polyurethane, athletes have a diverse range of choices. Patterns can also be added to enhance grip adhesion.
After preparing with top-notch bows and arrows, the remaining challenge is to keep the athletes’ conditions at their best. Hyundai Motor Group’s developed “non-contact joint tracking system” is a novel technology designed to assist the health of athletes. This system recognizes the athletes’ movements and measures their physical functions by having athletes perform various poses in front of a device. The system captures and analyzes the athlete’s movements, allowing it to determine the position and flexibility of their joints.
If the condition of joints or muscles is less than optimal, this can lead to unintended movements, such as the shoulder moving along with a tilt of the head. By analyzing these movements, even slight differences in conditions that the athlete may not have noticed can be detected. This technology is valuable as it is easy to use without physical contact and allows for the storage and comparison of measurements over time. If an athlete’s condition is not at its peak, they can consult with the team doctor.
Hyundai Motor Group is supporting Korean archery athletes by utilizing advanced technology. It’s impressive how Hyundai Motor Group’s various advanced technologies are contributing to the improvement of athletes’ performance. This can be seen as an example of Hyundai Motor Group’s vision to advance a better life for humanity, since such technologies can eventually be used to enhance our daily lives.
Following their remarkable achievement of four gold medals, four silver medals, and three bronze medals at the 2023 Hangzhou Games, our national archery team’s next challenge is the 2024 Paris Games. Hyundai Motor Group will continue to provide support for the athletes as they strive to carry on the legacy of Korean archery. Now, all Koreans eagerly await the day when our national team will make them proud once again.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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