“Wow, great! It’s really crazy even when I look at it.”
Ho-yong Kim (50), a “veteran” who led Coway Blue Wheels’ first win in the 2022 Wheelchair Basketball League (KWBL) championship match at Hoban Gymnasium in Chuncheon, Gangwon-do on the 11th, cheered when he saw his game record.
On this day, the final match between Chuncheon Paralympic Sports Association and Coway, which ranked first in the regular league, was the best ever. In the championship match, which is played in a best-of-three match, both teams aimed for their first win. In the first game on the 9th, Oh Dong-seok scored 29 points, including 5 3-pointers, and Coway defeated Chuncheon by a score of 77 to 60, 17 points. In the second game on the 10th, Chuncheon, where the ‘Trio’ of Lee Yoon-ju (27 points), Kim Sang-yeol (25 points), and Cho Seung-hyun (19 points) revived perfectly, won by 82 to 64, 18 points. And the last game that followed was ‘war’.
A bloody seesaw game with a one-point gap, one step ahead, continued until 11 seconds before the end buzzer. On this day, Kim Ho-yong showed a sense of ‘possessed’ goal. The exchange of glances with ‘World Class Guard’ Oh Dong-seok was a goal. In the 3rd quarter, at the moment of crisis, 6 shots fired were sucked into the net 100%. In the final 스포츠토토 4th quarter, with only 1 point left with 24 seconds left, the veteran’s steal shone. In the end, 70-67, a new victory by 3 points. Kim Ho-yong, the ’50-year-old eldest brother’, was a self-proclaimed ‘winner’s adverb of Coway. He scored a whopping 31 points alone. His 2-point shooting success rate is 75%. He put in 3 out of 4. That’s why the word “crazy” came out of nowhere. Kim Ho-yong said, “It’s the first time I’ve done this well in 27 years of basketball,” and repeatedly shouted, “Awesome! Great!”
Kim Ho-yong, born in 1972, is a 1.5th generation wheelchair basketball player. He teamed up with first-generation legends such as the late national team coach Han Sa-hyun (Seoul Sports Association for the Disabled) and Coway general manager Lim Chan-gyu (former secretary-general of the Seoul Sports Association for the Disabled). He is an active ‘iron man’. That’s why Coway coach Kim Young-moo, who was a player, is also called ‘Ho-Yong hyung’. Having won 4 times in Jeju Samdasoo, he announced his retirement at the end of last season. However, at the site of Holt’s boat competition, the passion in his heart stirred again as he watched his juniors run. “Senior” Lim Chan-kyu, the head of Coway, actively persuaded the company right after the founding ceremony in May. Recruiting a 50-year-old retired player was not easy, but general manager Lim believed in Kim Ho-yong and the company believed in him. He was a ‘God’s hand’. Coway’s performance gradually revived, and it raised its ranking from 5th place in the league to 3rd place, the ‘playoff margin’, and achieved its first victory at the Ulsan National Paralympic Games last October. Earlier this month, they succeeded in advancing to the championship match by winning the playoff against ‘Championship Candidate’ Jeju Samdasoo, and defeated the Chuncheon Paralympic Sports Association, the top team of ‘Chuncheon’, and stood at the top. The juniors who lifted the championship cup chanted “Kim Ho-yong! Kim Ho-yong!” with one voice.
The secret to his full bloom at the age of 1,000 people is ‘happy basketball’. Kim Ho-yong said, “I feel more comfortable than any other team in the past.” “I’m not doing it alone, it’s because we’re together,” he laughed. “Each of them has their own roles, Yang Dong-gil, Yoon Seok-hoon, Kwak Jun-seong and other juniors block them all, and (Oh) Dong-seok gives a perfect pass, attracts the defense and returns all eyes, so shooting is very comfortable. Like actor Hwang Jung-min said, I only have a spoon. You can put it on.” He laughed. It was humble. However, in basketball, piercing the rim of ‘100, 100’ is not ‘putting a spoon on’, but ‘making the mark’.
Regarding the 100% shooting hit rate in the third quarter, Kim Ho-yong laughed, saying, “I wasn’t nervous at all. The no-look pass with Oh Dong-seok and breathing through the eyes were an art. He asked back, “Isn’t Dong-seok really nasty and too good at it?” Coway’s basketball is not ‘one-man’ or ‘no-one’ basketball, but basketball where everyone is together through teamwork. It is basketball that believes in each other, cares for each other, and devotes itself to each other.”
After winning the championship, general manager Lim raised his thumb, saying, “Kim Ho-yong is a player who is very thorough in self-management. He does personal training for 2-3 hours every day. This is the secret to maintaining physical strength in his 30s. He only knows wheelchair basketball for the rest of his life.” Captain Yang Dong-gil said, “I was really happy to hear that Ho-yong-hyung was coming to our team. It was an honor to be able to work with him. It was so nice to have a senior I could lean on.” Oh Dong-seok said, “It is a great strength to have a shooter who can overcome the crisis.” He said, “I’ve been with Ho-yong in the national team for more than 10 years, and we know each other’s styles very well. With Ho-yong coming, I was relieved of the burden, and it led to such good results. I am most grateful to Ho-yong.”
Regarding the wheelchair basketball life that blossomed again at the age of 50 and the hope raised by his 31 points in the ‘Career High’, he said, “It is thanks to the constant care of my body, nothing else, only thinking about wheelchair basketball, and only looking ahead.” “He came to Coway and realized he still had a lot to learn. He has a lot more to do. That’s why he can’t retire,” he laughed.
The best moment, he recalled his old colleague, senior and mentor, the late director Han Sa-hyun. “(Han) Sa Hyun-hyung did his best every moment as a coach, so as a player, I will try my best to become an example to my juniors,” he said. His gaze returned to the record sheet of ‘75% success rate’. “Wow, it’s really crazy. I think Sa Hyun-hyung will be really surprised when he sees this record in heaven.”