Friday, July 27, 2012

Archery in Olympics - legally blind Im Dong-Hyun breaks his own record


The 26 year-old, who hails from Chungbuk, South Korea already has two Olympic gold medals to his name, having won the team event in Athens – aged only 18 – and Beijing four years ago.  he set a new world record score of 699 in the ranking round at Lord's Cricket Ground.

Olympics is all about high performance and every year we records tumbling down as new benchmarks are set – so what is unusual about it ! – one may wonder.  It is a staggering feat when one considers that he is legally blind.  Legal and blindness – one starts wondering !!!! His emergence as one of the best archers in the world is indeed  remarkable, considering his distinct disadvantage.

He is Im Dong-Hyun the specialist archer of the  Korean national team.  Olympic and achievements are nothing new to him – in 2004, Im set a world record in the 72 arrow men's individual ranking round, with a score of 687.  Im was also a member of Korea's gold medal men's archery team at the 2004 Summer Olympics.  At Beijing in 2008, Im finished his ranking round with a total of 670 points, nine points behind leader Juan René Serrano.  In the final Italy came close, but South Korea took the title with 227–225.

Continuing in the winning vein at London, Im today, set a new world record score of 699 in the ranking round at Lord's Cricket Ground.  Today, he broke his own record in the 72-arrow mark and helping South Korea set a team record in the ranking round.  He combined with Kim Bub-min and Oh Jin-hyek, smashing the record for 216 arrows with a total 2,087. That was 18 better than the mark South Korea set in May.  The 26-year-old Im has said that when he looks at the targets, he sees colors with blurred lines between them. He does not wear glasses in competition, saying he relies on distinguishing between the bright colors of the target.

Preliminary rounds were listed as non-ticketed, so several thousand spectators showed up at the venue expecting to get in for free.  But the Organising Committee said that the early competitions were not open for spectators.

It belies common thinking that in a sport that demands incredible focus and sight more than anything else, Im has overcome the strongest of obstacles to throw down archery's finest Olympic effort.   Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors. Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness. Total blindness is the complete lack of form and visual light perception and is clinically recorded as NLP, an abbreviation for "no light perception.  To determine which people may need special assistance because of their visual disabilities, various governmental jurisdictions have formulated more complex definitions referred to as legal blindness. In North America and most of Europe, legal blindness is defined as visual acuity (vision) of 20/200 (6/60) or less in the better eye with best correction possible. This means that a legally blind individual would have to stand 20 feet (6.1 m) from an object to see it—with corrective lenses—with the same degree of clarity as a normally sighted person could from 200 feet (61 m).

Im Dong-Hyun  has 20/200 vision in his left eye, meaning he needs to be 10 times closer to see an object than someone with perfect 20/20 vision. His right eye, meanwhile, is not much better – he has 20/100 vision in that one – and yet he has no problem in hitting a 122cm target from 70 metres.

So to succeed one should have a strong determination, will to succeed and hard practice – rest of everything then becomes immaterial as proved by Im.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.



Sure, to see this happening would be more delighting than a mere read.  Here is a video from Newsy.com, which is a multisource, multiplatform video news.   Linked with the special permission of Mr Courtney Lewis : <courtneyl@newsy.com>

To see the video click here.  :  Newsy Video of Im Dong Hyun's feat 

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