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Olympics-S Korea misses gold medal target but praises no clash with Japan

TOKYO : The South Korean Olympic team said on Sunday that the team fell short of its target for gold medals, but boasted no diplomatic clash with the host Japan during the Games.

"This Olympics, I feel pretty regretful, especially about our results," said Lee Kee-heung, president of Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC), wrapping up the country's performance at Tokyo Games.

South Korea won six gold medals, four of them from archery, and ranked 15th in Olympic medal count. The team had aimed to claim 10 gold, after snaring 9 gold in Rio.

Jang In-hwa, chef de mission of KSOC, said the team "suffered a slump with no gold" in sports like taekwondo and judo in which they traditionally perform well in.

However, outside the competition arena South Korea was pleased that the Tokyo Olympics did not create any diplomatic incidents with neighbouring Japan, despite being at odds over flags and symbols during the Olympics.

Lee from the South Korean delegation said the Olympics "proceeded without a big trouble", amidst lingering tensions between the two countries.

Shortly before the start of the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in scrapped https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japans-suga-skoreas-moon-hold-first-summit-meeting-friday-yomiuri-2021-07-18 his visit to Tokyo for the event over a Japanese diplomat's inappropriate remarks.

Around Tokyo Games emerged South Korea's anti-Japanese grievances over a map's reference https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/japan-government-spokesman-rejects-south-korea-protest-over-olympics-map-2021-06-02 to disputed islets, and the quality of Japanese fish and produce following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It eventually brought radioactive detectors https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/south-korean-athletes-enjoy-food-delivery-service-after-radiation-screening-2021-07-26 to Japan to screen food for its own food programme.

South Korea displayed https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/south-korea-team-told-remove-banners-olympic-village-2021-07-17 banners with an historic reference to a 16th-century war with Japan at the Olympic village, but at the request of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), removed them before the start of the Games.

While thanking Japanese authorities for support, Lee, an IOC member, said it was an "achievement of sports diplomacy" for South Korea that IOC had decided to ban Japan's "Rising Sun" flag, a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: Reuters

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