On Sep. 29, the South Korean national League of Legends team defeated Chinese Taipei in the finals of the Hangzhou Asian Games and claimed the gold medal. It was a decisive 2-0 victory for South Korea, washing away their regrets of getting the silver medal at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games back in 2018.
Head coach Kim "kkOma" Jeong-gyun expressed his joy after guiding the team to the gold medal. "It was a challenging two years as the national team coach due to the one-year postponement. I had to sacrifice a lot personally for this role. Nonetheless, achieving a gold medal brings me immense happiness."
He revealed, "Many around me discouraged me from taking the national team coach position. I had offers from several teams, but I turned them down to focus solely on being the national team coach. I may regret not joining a team this year, but I wanted to finish my role as the national team coach with dignity."
Seo "Kanavi" Jin-hyeok, who played a crucial role in the team's success, expressed his delight at securing a prominent position and winning the gold medal. Regarding the emotional moment of receiving the gold medal, he said, "Receiving a gold medal for the first time was touching. I barely held back tears. When I put the gold medal around my neck, I realized that our hard work paid off."
Choi "Zeus" Woo-je emphasized the valuable learning experience during the tournament. He noted, "Getting the gold medal was great, but what was more important was that I learned a lot during the preparation for this competition. I learned a great deal from coach kkOma and the strategic analysis coaches, as well as my talented teammates. In particular, Coach Khan gave me many valuable tips."
Jeong "Chovy" Ji-hoon revealed the weight of the responsibility as a starter, saying, "I felt a significant burden. It was important not only to perform well and win but also not to let down my teammates when I had the chance to start. So, I wanted to perform even better." He expressed pride in wearing the gold medal and said, "I heard so many cheers before stepping onto the podium. That time felt precious and made me proud."
Lee "Faker" Sang-hyeok, who wasn’t able to play in the latter period of the Asian Games said he found great meaning in the gold medal. "It means a lot to me that we secured a gold medal in the first official esports event at the Asian Games. The next Asian Games are scheduled in three years. If I get the chance, I would love to compete again and have such a wonderful experience."
"It holds great significance for me that our team had the capability to win even when I'm not competing. Chovy performed exceptionally well. We didn't drop a single set and secured the victory, which I believe validates coach kkOma’s decisions regarding the lineup," remarked Faker.
Park "Ruler" Jae-hyuk marveled at how he went from winning a silver medal five years ago to now earning a gold medal. He said, "It's incredibly amazing how a kid who was sad after winning a silver medal five years ago is now standing here with a gold medal. My emotions are quite complex. Even as I stepped onto the podium, I was surprised that a day like this had come. I believe this is something I'll never forget."
Ryu "Keria" Min-seok also expressed how he felt. "I was lucky enough to receive this medal. As Chovy said, it feels like we were born in the right era. I'm thrilled. Right now, I'm just so happy. It still feels like a dream. I think I need to be alone for a while to truly grasp the reality of it all."
After playing on the national team for the Asian Games, the players will now return to their respective teams and prepare for the 2023 LoL World Championship. All six players have made it to Worlds — Ruler and Kanavi will return to JD Gaming, Zeus, Faker, and Keria will return to T1, and Chovy will be back to Gen.G. Worlds 2023 will begin on Oct. 10.