Who is Kim Jin-Ho? Yecheon venue named after Olympic medallist

The entrance field at the Yecheon Jinho International Archery Field.

The second stage of the 2024 Hyundai Archery World Cup is taking place this week in the small Korean town of Yecheon.

Why is the international tour visiting a county with a population of less than 50,000? Because, in this country, it’s the centre of the sport, having a long-standing history in both traditional and modern archery.

One of the town’s biggest exports?

Icon Kim Jin-Ho, namesake of this week’s venue at the Yecheon Jinho International Archery Field. 

Jin-Ho became the country’s first World Archery Champion when Korea made its debut at the event in 1979, taking gold in both the individual and recurve women’s team events.

“Before 1979, Koreans didn’t know archery well but then she got good results in the World Archery Championships,” said Moon Hyung Cheol, former Korean head coach.

“She was the first person who informed archery to the Korean people.”

“She’s quite a powerful person for all of them.”

Jin-Ho would repeat her podium-topping performance at the Los Angeles 1983 World Archery Championships and then claim individual bronze at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

Over a long and decorated international career, Jin-Ho would accrue seven world championship podiums, collect nine medals at the Asian Games – including five gold – and set the stage for the Korean women’s long domination of the sport.

In 2020, she was awarded the International Olympic Committee Women and Sport Award for Asia for increasing female representation.

Jin-Ho now works as a professor at the Korean National Sport University.

A new generation of athletes will look to make their mark on her field in Yecheon – among them, stage one winner Lim Sihyeon.

“Korean archers are already known for being good, we try to set a benchmark,” said Hyung Cheol, who is one of the organisers of this tournament.

“I expect Korea will get good results even though they showed bad scores on the first stage in Shanghai.”

China upset the new Korean recurve women’s line-up in the team final at the season opener. An early bump only months before Korea will attempt to win an historic 10th consecutive Olympic title.

This week’s event is an opportunity to get back on track.

Forty-five years on from Jin-Ho’s first world medal, her name still plays a significant role in archery in Korea.