In a tense and tearjerking win, Republic of Korea CHOI Yejin, JEONG Howon and KIM Hansoo has won the nation's ninth consecutive Paralympic gold medal in boccia with victory in the Pairs BC3 at Tokyo 2020
The Republic of Korea won boccia gold for the ninth consecutive time after winning the pairs BC3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Ahead of Tokyo 2020, the national team had promised to win gold for the ninth consecutive time at the Paralympic Games. But with no medals in any of the individual events - BC1, BC2 and BC3 - it looked as though the Republic of Korea would leave Tokyo 2020 without a medal in the sport.
But they were able to keep their promise.
After a 3-0 and 1-0 after two ends, CHOI Yejin and JEONG Howon were in prime position to take gold. That was until Japan's KAWAMOTO Keisuke and TAKAHASHI Kazuki scored in the third (4-1) end before tying the scores up at the fourth end (4-4) to force a tiebreak.
With each roll and each hit of the jack or the opponents' ball increasing the tension at Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
"I felt like I was going to die," manager LIM Kwangtaek said of the tiebreak.
It came down to the last ball with Choi calmly rolling it down the ramp.
With the gold medal won, Choi and Jeong broke out into broad smiles as their assistants started cheerings.
National team coach LEE Mun Young hugged Jeong as Moon Woo-young hugged her daughter Choi before Lim lifted each of the players individually, including KIM Hansoo, who was a substitute, to celebrate the victory.
"It was like a plane in the sky. Like I am flying," Jeong said about the celebration.
"Even though it went to a tiebreak I thought I would never ever lose this game," he added.
It was the Republic of Korea's first gold medal in the event since Beijing 2008, where Howon was part of that successful team. The trio had come close to gold at Rio 2016 but had to settle for silver after a 5-2 loss against Brazil while London 2012 saw them finish fourth after a 4-3 loss to Belgium in the bronze medal match.
"The pressure of nine consecutive medals was too great, and this is the third time the three players have gone on a pair, and there have been no gold medals," Lim told South Korean news agency Yonhup. "The pressure and responsibility of winning the gold medal weighed on my shoulders, but I relieved all the stress I had from winning and crying."
Gold in the BC3 gave the Republic of Korea meant that had won gold at every single boccia tournament at Paralympic Games since Seoul 1988.
The win on 4 September gave the Republic of Korea just their second gold medal of the Paralympic Games.