He won a gold medal without playing a single game, and he’ll also receive military service benefits.
The South Korean baseball team, led by Ryu Jung-il, won the final against Chinese Taipei at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games on Oct. 7 at the Baseball and Softball Sports Center in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China. With the 2-0 victory, the team won its fourth consecutive Asian Games title.
A record number of 19 ‘non-military’ athletes participated in the tournament. This was due to the younger and less-experienced players, as age and years of professional experience are restricted to enhance international competitiveness. All but five players – Choi Won-jun, Kim Hyung-jun, Park Sung-sung, Ko Woo-seok, and Kim Sung-yoon – have already completed their military service or have been exempted since the team won the gold medal.
The national team played six matches – three group games, two super rounds, and the final – with 22 players taking the field. Two players did not make it to the end due to injury. Pitcher Kwak Bin and outfielder Choi Won-jun. Kwak Bin was sidelined with gallbladder symptoms and Choi Won-jun with a calf injury.
Choi was hit in the calf by a pitch from Moon Bo-kyung during batting practice at the Gocheok Dome. At the time of the hit, he was only in pain for a moment and didn’t show any signs of distress. However, after arriving in China, it was determined that he would not be able to run normally and was eventually ruled out.
Kwak Bin, who was expected to be the team’s ace alongside Moon Dong-ju, was unable to take the mound after coming down with gallbladder symptoms during a practice pitch just before the tournament began. Kwak Bin was reportedly cleared to pitch in the final game, but did not take the mound. Given how tight the final game was, coach Ryu Jung-il could not afford to use a starter who was not 100 percent in the late game.
If it was the last tournament, athletes who did not step on the field would not be eligible for benefits. Choi Won-jun, who has already completed his military service, is not affected, but Kwak Bin was the only member of the national team who would not have been eligible for military benefits in the past.
But now the ‘law’ has changed. In June 2020, the Enforcement Decree of the Military Service Act was amended to allow athletes who “did not actually compete” in team sports at the Olympic and Asian Games to be exempt from military service. Kwak Bin was given the “ultimate gift” of being exempted from military service without ever stepping on the mound. He is the first baseball player to receive this benefit since the law was recently changed. Of course, the injury was sustained in training just before the tournament started. We can’t accuse Kwak-Bin of getting a “free ride,” as he didn’t intentionally hide the injury.
However, there are a few players who have had mixed fortunes when it comes to military service benefits. Koo Chang-mo and Lee Yi-ra, who were initially included in the final roster but were dropped just before the tournament.
Koo Chang-mo, who has been plagued by injuries all season, returned to the first team just before the tournament but was not fully fit and was replaced by reliever Kim Young-gyu. Lee Yi-ri, who was the 토토사이트 only “left-handed starter” on the team after Koo Chang-mo’s withdrawal, was replaced by outfielder Yoon Dong-hee a day before the call-up due to blisters on his fingers.
While Koo would eventually re-injure himself, Lee proved that he was in good shape with a series of strong performances after the team traveled to China. However, the roster did not change again. With Kwak Bin receiving military service benefits without having to step on the mound, Lee Yi-ri, who proved his health, and Koo Chang-mo, who was unable to pitch, were left to feel disappointed.