Im Dong-Hyun

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

South Korean Olympic archer Im Dong-Hyun is legally blind:

Every archer who steps out onto Lord’s cricket ground to compete in the London Olympics will have to hit a target roughly the size of an apple from a distance just shy of the length of a football pitch.

But for one archer, the yellow circle at the heart of the target will be a fuzzy blob. Im Dong-hyun, a softly spoken 25-year-old Korean with burnt orange highlights in his hair, is widely considered the best archer in the world.

He has two Olympic gold medals from the team events in Athens and Beijing. He holds the current world record for 72 arrows, with a score of 687 out of 720.

But according to the Korean Archery Federation, he is legally blind, with vision of 20/100 in his right eye and 20/200 in his left. In his words, it leaves the rainbow colours of the archery target looking “as if different types of paint have been dropped in water. The lines are blurred.”

Im began losing his eyesight as a teenager, when he was already an established archer, although there are no tell-tale signs.

“I do not feel that I need to wear glasses. I am not myopic, I am far-sighted,” he said, after one of his daily training sessions at his training centre in Seoul.

Leave a Reply