Blind Archer hits the target
1 August 2012
There are a number of personalities and stories emerging from the London 2012 Olympics including Dong Hyun Im, the South Korean archer. Dong is legally blind with 20/200 vision in his left eye and 20/100 vision in his right.
Speaking to the London 2012 Olympics website, the 26 year old athlete said: “With my vision, when I look at the target, it looks as if different colour paints have been dropped in water. The boundaries are not that clear and the lines between the colours are very blurred." He refuses to wear glasses or undergo free eye surgery relying on the bright colours of the target for direction. "I've practised using glasses before but actually it makes me feel less comfortable when I shoot. When I look down the range at the target all I can do is try to distinguish between the different colours. If I couldn't see the colours, now that would be a problem."
Dong began archery at the age of 10 after being encouraged by his schoolteacher. It became clear despite his disability he had a raw talent, drawing inspiration from his country’s archery team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. In the 2004 Athens Olympics at the age of 18 years and 101 days, he became the youngest male champion in the history of Olympic archery as part of the team that won the top accolade. He also went on to win team gold at the 2008 Bejing Olympics.
The right handed, 6ft athlete trains six or seven hours a day including weight work in the gym to build his muscle strength.