Olympic, World and World Cup champion Im Dong-Hyun, from the Republic of Korea, has been one of the top recurve archers for almost a decade. He is aiming for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Q. How did you discover archery?
A. I started when I was 10 years old. After watching the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta on TV, I wanted to start archery very much. Fortunately, my school had an archery club, which made it possible for me to start training. When I made the National Team I started to dream of going to the Olympic Games.
Q. What are your memories from the Olympic Games?
A. In Athens in 2004 the archery competition was held in the historic Panathinaiko Stadium, which hosted the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896. Beijing 2008 was different in that everything was very big. I was particularly impressed with the atmosphere in the crowd, especially the Korean supporters who were cheering us on.
Q. Who were your Olympic heroes or role models when you were younger?
A. Ever since I watched the 1996 Olympic Games on TV, the members of the Korean men’s archery team from that time have been my heroes: Oh Kyo-Moon, Kim Bo-Ram, Jang Yong-Ho. I really wanted to be like them and I respect them to this day.
Q. What is your key to success?
A. First of all, I have learned the basic skills very well. When I was young I was also very lucky to have older, more experienced archers give me advice.
Q. What is your training programme like for the 2012 Olympic Games?
A. I am a professional archer and train six to seven hours a day. Up until now I have been focusing on the World Championships, which took place in July in Turin, but now that we have qualified I can begin thinking about the Olympic Games. I will practise very hard next winter in order to be ready for London.
Q. What is your main goal for London 2012?
A. First of all, to win gold in the individual competition, and then to win the team gold medal for the third time.
Q.Who will be your main rival in London?
A. I have many rivals, firstly my team-mates, but also USA’s Brady Ellison, Ukraine’s Viktor Ruban, the archers from China… Everyone can be dangerous.
Q. Can you tell us about your myopia and how it affects your shooting?
A. I suffer from strong myopia, but I feel no inconvenience and don’t see it as a problem. My eyes have always been like that and, when I was young, I didn’t even realise I had a problem. I don’t want to start using glasses or contact lenses because I feel no problem shooting without them.