▲ The Annual Ko-Yon Games. PHOTOGRAPHED BY GT PHOTO DIVISION.
Joyful Ko-Yon Games, with the crying sound of Yonsei students. What a pity for the defeated Yonsei." With fireworks going off, the cheerleading anthem Baennorae resonates and Korea University (KU) students sing along to celebrate KU’s goal. This goal was golden, because it not only meant clinching a 3-1 victory in the soccer game, but the overall Annual Ko-Yon Games that was stuck at a tie after the previous four matches. 2016 Annual Ko-Yon Games added another victory for KU, continuing a winning streak that has lasted since 2011.
“To KU students, it is more than merely a sports competition,” answered Jang Won Joon (’16, Materials Science and Engineering) when asked about the Annual Ko-Yon Games. Not only in academia, but in sports as well, KU and Yonsei University (YU) have been in a rivalry. Because the two schools have their pride at stake, The Annual Ko-Yon Games holds a special place for students of both schools. Hence, it is natural that students wonder whether KU will win this year again. Here are some predictions about how this year’s Ko-Yon Games might pan out based on KU athletes’ performances in nationwide competitions this year so far.
To start off with baseball, the KU Baseball Team seems to be continuing its parade of victory with 25 wins, six draws and 15 losses. What characterizes the KU baseball team is its powerful batters, who are ready to swing their bats and score points. The team is remarkable in that it has won 10 matches out of 15 games in Regional Group A of the Nationwide University Baseball Weekend League (NUBWL), taking second place in the group. After the fierce 1-1 match between KU and YU, the two universities have proven that they are rivals even in the NUBWL, with KU in second place winning 21 points and YU in third place winning 20 points.
On the basketball court, KU and YU have been neck and neck, with KU winning 21 rounds and losing 20 so far. The KU basketball team is in its heyday, not losing a single game against YU since 2011. Not only in the Annual Ko-Yon Games, but also in University Basketball League (UBL), KU has shown outstanding results, winning championships from 2013 to 2015. Although its fourth consecutive victory was blocked by YU in 2016, KU’s basketball team continues to show its vigor, winning 15 matches out of 16 in the 2017 league and landing in first place. The scene where KU’s Park Jung Hyun (’16, Physical Education) scored a lastminute point and earned KU a draw in last year’s Annual Ko-Yon Games is still the most memorable moment among students. “For me, the dramatic tie in the fourth quarter remains as the most memorable scene,” remarked Lee Sung Ju (’16, Statistics). “However, this year’s game is going to be a challenging one, since KU’s ace Lee Jong Hyun (’13, Physical Education) left to join the pro leagues, while YU’s top player Heo Hun (’14, Sports Leisure) still plays for the YU basketball team,” said Lee, showing his concern when asked about how likely it is for KU to win this year’s game. Although the KU basketball team is surely strong, a fierce match with YU is expected.
Ever since the triumph of the 2014 Games, where KU decimated YU in every game, KU has not gained a single victory in ice hockey, leaving many to wonder if the KU Ice Hockey Team can make a comeback this year. In this year’s National University Ice-Hockey Championship (NUIC), KU and YU have been showing off their powerful skills, both teams not losing a single match before meeting each other in the final round. The match was a fierce 2-2, resulting in an extended round. Judging by how they have been doing so far this year, the KU Ice Hockey Team seems to have a better shot at a victory against their nemesis this time around.
The second day of the Annual Ko-Yon Games kicks off with a Rugby match at Mokdong Stadium. KU has been lagging behind YU, losing last year’s game by one point. However, the KU Rugby Team is still alive and well, winning against YU and Kyung Hee University (KHU) in the 2017 Nation Spring Rugby Leagues. With its new coach Lee Kwang Moon (’02, Physical Education), the team is expected to be triumphant in the upcoming Games. Coach Lee is well-known for introducing the so-called system rugby to his team. “Simply put, it means playing the game that has been planned in advance,” he elaborates on this particular strategy of his. Not only that, he has brought overall changes to the team, ones such as making sure that all players, regardless of their ages, get to play in competitions. “The players live everyday fiercely, engaging in their trainings. In the upcoming Annual Ko-Yon Games, our team will deliver an overwhelming victory,” he says with an unwavering conviction in his players.
Football marks the end of the Annual Ko-Yon Games. Like baseball, football is the sport where KU has been showing superiority over YU, winning 20 rounds and losing 14 rounds so far. Last year’s football game was especially memorable to KU students, because of the miraculous turnaround that eventually led to a victory in the 2016 Annual Ko-Yon Games. “Just like baseball, things looked bad for KU after YU scored its first goal. However, KU players blew our mind by scoring three points in a row, reversing the game with a 3-1 victory,” remarked Jang.
Although KU has been dominant in football, the team has been struggling this year. It was a surprise to the KU football team’s fans that KU lost the Spring University Football Leagues in the quarterfinals and Autumn University Football Leagues in the round of 40, despite its outstanding performances in the years leading up to it. After such a crushing defeat, it is difficult to predict how this year's football game will play out.
“The players feel heavier responsibilities for the Annual Ko-Yon Games than university leagues. I hope that the Games are not too much of a burden for them,” said Lee Sung Ju, expressing his opinions of the players. As Jang emphasizes, what is more important than the results is that the players genuinely enjoy the game without getting injured. In all five sports, KU athletes have been showing outstanding performances, not only in the Annual Ko-Yon Games but also in nationwide competitions. Therefore, it goes without saying that many KU students have high expectations, but this should not get in the way of enjoying the games.
▲ KU’s Performance in National University Ice Hockey Championships.