Baseball and soccer teams take military veterans into consideration from the start…
Olympic Games pale in comparison, while popular artists and equity debate rages on
[Yonhap] The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games have come to a close.
The Korean athletes won 190 medals. With 42 gold, 59 silver, and 89 bronze medals, Korea finished third overall behind China and Japan.
The actual number of medals won by Korean athletes is much higher than that, as they competed as a team and also won team honors in individual events.
Due to the diversification of content and the decline in interest in sports, the attention of the Games has been declining.
However, one of the reasons many people still watch the Games is the “military benefit”.
Many fans watch the games in hopes that their favorite athlete will win a gold medal and receive military service benefits, which will allow them to have a stable career in the future.
Gold medal winners with a lighter step
More than 90 men have won gold at the Games. Some of the gold medalists have experience from previous Games, or even Olympic medals.
However, many of the nearly 100 male gold medalists are now eligible for military service as part of the Arts and Sports program.
In particular, the baseball and soccer teams, which also won gold medals, are largely comprised of “unavailable military resources.
Military service was taken into account from the start of the team selection process, when gold medals were not guaranteed.
For the first time ever, the baseball team had an age limit for selecting players. It was also the first time that the KBO League was not suspended during the tournament. This led to another restriction of ‘three players per team’. In addition, it was publicly stated that the distribution of players in the military was also considered.
In the case of the soccer team, the entire roster was filled with players who needed military benefits. It was reported that some “military resources” were approached to join the team, but were rejected by individuals and organizations.
They felt that they had nothing to gain by participating in the Asian Games, which is a low-profile event in the soccer world and is played by age-group teams.
In the end, both teams succeeded in winning the gold medal, which was their only goal.
As a result, Lee Kang-in (Paris Saint-Germain), Jung Woo-young (Stuttgart), and Moon Dong-joo (Hanwha Eagles), who are currently playing in France and Germany, will be able to continue their careers without having to serve in active duty or join the national team. 카지노사이트
The stars of the Korean contingent were golfers Lim Sung-jae and Kim Si-woo. Both former winners on the U.S. Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, they are “world class” players, ranked 26th and 40th in the world, respectively.
After failing to win a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they bounced back to win the team gold medal alongside amateur players Cho Woo-young and Jang Yubin.
The gold medal-winning swimmers of the South Korean national team will also receive military service benefits.
Many of them, including Hwang Sun-woo and Kim Woo-min, are in their early to mid-20s. They have been dubbed the “golden generation” and are expected to continue their athletic careers well into the future.
There were also military service recipients in esports, the first sport to be included in the Games. This is the case with the six members of the League of Legends national team.
Some of them were reportedly exempted from the military for other reasons, but most of them are beneficiaries of the gold medal.
Winning a gold medal has made it easier for them to complete their military service, thanks to the Arts and Sports Personnel System.
Although the public perceives winning a gold medal as a “military exemption,” it is technically supplemental military service.
Once you’re inducted, you must continue your career as an athlete or coach in the sport for a certain period of time. Because it’s a supplementary service, they have to undergo basic military training for about three weeks, just like social service workers, and afterward, they can join the reserve.
The program has undergone many changes since its inception in 1973. Unlike today’s Asian Games gold medals and Olympic medals, the scope of the program used to be broader.
In addition to the FIFA World Cup, the Universiade, and the World Championships, athletes were eligible for military service if they performed well in age-group competitions and the Asian Youth Championships.
In the past, sports stars were eligible for military service just by placing in the top three at the Asian Youth Games.
The main players of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup quarterfinals and the 2006 World Baseball Classic quarterfinals, which thrilled sports fans, were also included in the arts and sports personnel. However, the scope has gradually decreased.
In athletics, the Olympics and Asian Games were the only events to benefit. Events like the World Cup and WBC, which were added in the middle of the year, also lost their military service benefits in favor of equity with other sports.
The scope of activities has also changed since being included in the Arts and Sports Ministry. In the past, if you received military service benefits, you were obligated to work in the field.
As a result, some players were not able to go abroad even though they were free from military service.
However, with the revision of the relevant laws, there are now many cases of athletes in soccer, baseball, golf, etc. who have received special military service exemptions and are challenging themselves overseas.
The system has also been improved to allow athletes on active duty to complete their military service early if they win a medal.
At the 2002 Busan Asian Games, Hyun Joo-yeop and Cho Sang-hyun, who were both serving in the commercial sector, won a basketball gold medal at the tournament, but had to complete their remaining service.
The rules have since been revised, and Oh Se-geun (basketball), who was serving at Sangmu in 2014, and Hwang In-beom, who played for the National Police Agency in 2018, were released earlier than their peers.
Cho Young-wook (soccer), who won a gold medal at the Games, will also benefit from the change.
Gold medalists exempted from military service, BTS enlisted in active duty?
The first such system was established in 1973.
It is an exemption from military service given to “those with artistic or athletic talents who are recognized as needing to develop or demonstrate their talents for the national interest”.
Previously, there was public support for the program, with the president promising military service benefits on the field at the Korea-Japan World Cup in response to the players’ suggestions.
However, in recent years, opposition to the system itself has been growing.
Especially after the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, there were signs of change in the system.
The need for change came after it was discovered that some of the athletes who had previously benefited from the program had not fulfilled their volunteer obligations.
The special status of the Asian Games has also been a point of contention.
Many people questioned why the Asian Games, which is a lower-level event compared to the Olympics, which competes on a global stage, should be given special treatment.
In reality, the Asian Games are dominated by three countries – South Korea, China, and Japan – in most events.
China swept the medal count with over 200 gold medals, while South Korea and Japan combined for nearly 200 gold, silver, and bronze medals. That’s nearly double the total of fourth-place India (107 medals).
Politicians have also voiced their skepticism about the arts and athletics program. “If art or athletics serves the national interest, then popular artists should be included in the program,” he said, citing BTS’s performance as an example.
If winning an international competition contributed to the national interest and was granted military service benefits, then a pop singer who topped the Billboard charts should also be recognized.
In response, some lawmakers announced that they would introduce amendments to the bill.
However, a comprehensive revision of the Arts and Sports Personnel System was never finalized.
The Ministry of National Defense, the Armed Forces Administration, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism formed a “system improvement task force” to discuss the issue, but decided in November 2019 to maintain the current system.
In the case of athletics, the changes were modest, with more transparency in the national team selection process and benefits for athletes who did not compete as candidates in team events.
Nonetheless, the Hangzhou Asian Games have once again put the Arts and Sports Personnel System on the chopping block. It remains to be seen how long the nearly 50-year-old system can continue.