‘Rain Made Silver’ Seo Chae-hyun, “I was confident of finals…but in the Olympics instead”
It was a day when the sky was unforgiving.
After waiting for an hour, she was told, “It’s raining too much. We’re canceling the final to protect the athletes,” Seo Chae-hyun (19, The North Face, Seoul City Hall) was devastated.
“I finished second in the preliminaries and tied for first in the semifinals,” said Seo, who won a silver medal at the Yangshan Sports Climbing Center in Kirchao, Shaoxing, China, on Sunday. I was focused on doing better in the final,” she said. “Since the final wasn’t held, I don’t know what the actual result would have been, but it’s a shame that I didn’t even have a chance to challenge for the title.”
Later in the day, the final of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games Sport Climbing Women’s Combined (Bouldering-Read) final was canceled due to rain.
As per the competition rules, Seo’s final ranking was also second after finishing the semifinals in second place.
In fact, Seo and Mori had the same semifinal total of 199.73 points (99.73 bouldering and 100 lead).
However, the semifinal rankings were split with Mori in first place and Seo in second.
This was in accordance with the competition’s rules, which state that if the semifinal scores are tied, the qualifying scores will be used to determine the order of finish.
In the qualifiers, Mori finished first with a total of 196.0 points (99.9 bouldering, 96.1 lead) and Seo finished second with a total of 176 points (79.9 bouldering, 96.1 lead).
In the end, the gold and silver medalists were determined by their qualifying positions.
The Combined event consists of bouldering, which involves passing various man-made structures on a 4.5-meter rock wall without a rope in less than four minutes, and lead, which involves climbing a 15-meter-high man-made wall to its highest point in less than six minutes.
Mori is ranked No. 2 in the world in the combine this season. Seo is ranked eighth.
While recognizing Mori’s skill, Seo believes that in a true shootout, it’s impossible to know who will win.
“In the final, the routes will be more varied than in the qualifiers and semifinals. I was confident in my lead, so I thought that if I could close the gap with Mori in bouldering, I had a chance to win,” she said, adding, “I missed the opportunity to show what I had prepared.”
Seo’s father and head coach of the national team, Seo Jong-guk, said, “Seo and Mori both scored 100 points in the qualification and final runs. I thought Chaehyun could pull ahead if the course became difficult,” he said, adding, “In bouldering, there will be a lot of spacing between holds in the final, so I trained a lot to prepare for that and made a strategy to narrow the gap to about four points.”
He calculated that if he could close the gap on Mori’s slightly stronger bouldering, he would be able to take the lead.
However, the ambitious strategy went out the window in the rain.
Despite losing the Asian Games gold medal, Seo gained the confidence to say, “I can do it with Mori.”
She decided to pick up the pace to qualify for the Paris Olympics and win a medal.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Seo finished eighth.
The Tokyo Olympic Combine included speed, bouldering, and lead. Speed is the event she feels the most pressure in.
In Paris, the combine will consist of only bouldering and lead, just like the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“First of all, I will try to qualify for the Asian Games in Paris in November,” said Seo. “I will improve my bouldering skills, which are still weak, and try to win a medal in Paris.”
Mori has already qualified for the Paris Olympics after finishing third at the World Championships in August.
At the time, Seo Chae-hyun finished 10th in the semifinals with 86.4 points and failed to qualify for the final.
“After Chaehyun’s disappointing performance at the World Championships, she was having a hard time mentally,” said Seo. Fortunately, she recovered well by training with the senior members of the national team at Jincheon Athletes’ Village,” said Seo. “Playing against Mori in the qualification and semifinals gave her confidence. This is encouraging for the Paris Olympics.”
In fact, the presence of her mentor and father, coach Seo Jong-guk, was also a factor in her rebound.
“He’s seen me as an athlete and a daughter the longest, so when I’m a little shaky, he holds me up,” she said. “At home, sometimes I get irritable…. She took it well and made me an Asian Games silver medalist. I’m always grateful.”
Although Seo Chae-hyun spoke in a low voice, the words of her daughter and protégé clearly reached the ears of Coach Seo Jong-kook. However, Coach Seo pretended not to hear and looked off into the distance, but that didn’t stop a smile from spreading across his face. 스포츠토토