’36-year-old dad b-boy’ Kim Heon-woo wins gold at Asian Championships

South Korean breaker Kim Heon-woo (36-wing) has predicted a gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Kim won gold in the men’s breaking event at the 2023 World Dance Sport Federation (WDSF) Asia Breaking Championships, which concluded today in Hangzhou, China.

The competition was a test event for the Hangzhou Asian Games in October. It was held at the Gongshu Canal Sports Park gymnasium and athletes’ village facilities. It featured the highest ranking point level of any WDSF-organized event.

Kim defeated Chinese Taipei’s Sun Chen 안전놀이터 to reach the quarterfinals. On his way to the final, he met teammate Kim Hong-yeol (39-HONGTEN). Kim won a hard-fought 2-1 victory. In the final, Kim defeated China’s Shang Xiaoyu 3-0 to win the title. As a result of her victory, Kim will advance directly to the Olympic Qualifier Series (OQS), a qualifying event for next year’s Paris Olympics, regardless of her accumulated ranking points.

Originating in New York City in the 1970s, breakdancing is a challenging form of dance performed to hip-hop beats. It became so popular at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires that the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Paris Olympics adopted it as an official sport. Breaking is a one-on-one battle, with two to three rounds. Similar to figure skating, nine judges of both sexes score five categories: technique, expression, originality, performance, and musicality.

Kim Heon-woo represents South Korea in breaking. His nickname, “Wing,” refers to his wings and his desire to travel widely. In 1999, when he was 12 years old, he started watching the cartoon “Hip Hop” (a serialization of “IQ Jump” from 1997-2004) and copying the dance moves. As a teenager, he practiced on the marble floor of a train station at dawn after the subway ended. He started watching cartoons and became one of the best in the world. He won major tournaments, including the Red Bull B.C.O.P. World Finals in 2008, and has won more than 100 titles in total. Like taekwondo and archery, Korean men’s breaking has been ranked among the world’s best since 2005.

Born in 1987, Wing will be 36 this year and 37 at the Paris Olympics next year. But he sees competing in the Asian Games and Olympics as an opportunity to raise public awareness and the vision of the sport. With a daughter and son, he is a “dad b-boy”. He is a stay-at-home dad and has been filmed breaking in the living room, kitchen, and nursery. He dances to create an environment where his children can say “yes” when they grow up and want to dance.

Meanwhile, Hong Ten won the bronze medal after defeating Qi Xiangyu of China 3-0 in the men’s 3-4 final. Earlier, Hong Ten defeated world No. 2 Shigeyuki Nakarai in the quarterfinals.

In the women’s non-girl category, Jeon Jeonye (24, Freshbella) took bronze. After defeating China’s Zheng Yingyong in overtime in the quarterfinals, Jeon fell to eventual champion Ayumi Fukushima of Japan in the semifinals. In the third-fourth place match, Jeon defeated world No. 1 Liu Qingyu (671) of China 2-1. She displayed a variety of footwork and staple-based moves, and in the third round, she performed a series of challenging power moves, including a windmill and a freeze.

This is the second consecutive podium for Jeon, who won bronze at the WDSF International Series in Montreal, Canada, in June. Jeon earned 650 points to improve her chances of qualifying for the Qualifier Series for the Paris Olympics.

The Korean team won one gold and two bronze medals at the event. “I am very grateful to the athletes for showing that Korea is still a breaking powerhouse,” said National Breaking Coach Jung Hyung-sik. I think our efforts to adapt to the Olympic system have paid off,” he said. “We will continue to work on our training and improve on the points we learned from this tournament, and move forward towards the Asian Games and the Olympics. Thank you for your support,” he concluded. The team, which departed through Incheon Airport on the 3rd, will compete in the World Series in Portugal on the 30th and 31st of next month.

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