“(Jang) Hyun-seok seemed to be struggling. He’s a high school kid by himself. That’s exactly how I felt during the WBC (World Baseball Classic).”
He was the youngest player in the WBC, but he is the oldest in the Asian Games team. It’s even more pressure.
The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games team, led by head coach Ryu Jung-il, held its second day of training at the Gocheok SkyDome on Thursday. The team will have a day off before playing a scrimmage against Sangsung on the 26th.
The Asian Games team is young, with an average age of 23. Park Se-woong (Lotte) is the top pitcher and Choi Ji-hoon (SSG) and Choi Won-jun (KIA) are the top fielders.
Choi Ji-hoon throws his hands up in the air when he hears the word ‘best’. “He’s just a year or two older than me. He’s slowly letting go,” he laughs.
He was supposed to play left field when Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) was around. However, since Lee Jung-hoo was injured and Kim Sung-yoon (Samsung) and Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte) were reinforced, he is an indispensable center fielder. Maybe this will be his chance to make the leap to “national center fielder.
“It’s a burden in terms of responsibility. But it’s a great opportunity for me. It’s a little heavy on my shoulders, but I’ll do my best. I don’t want to make any mistakes.”
Luckily, his partner in right field is Choi Won-jun, who is the same age as him. They have a telepathic connection.
But he’s sagging. Choi Won-jun is a military veteran, and Choi Ji-hoon is a misfit. Choi Ji-hoon said, “If you’ve been in the army, you’re my brother. (Park) Sung-han is also an older brother,” he laughs.
“The atmosphere is different because there are definitely younger players. There’s a unique cheering and burning feeling. Plus, our captain (Kim Hye-sung) is also young, but he has the most experience with the national team. There are players like (Kang) Baekho who set the tone. Seeing how close we are already, I think we will really come together as a team during the tournament.”
Unlike other international competitions, the league hasn’t been interrupted. Choi Ji-hoon says, “When Sung-han and I dropped out, we won right away. The seniors and the coach thankfully said, ‘Don’t worry about it and have a good trip,'” he laughs. 스포츠토토
“I’m usually a bit shy. I could see that Hyunseok was struggling. He blushes when I say anything, and he doesn’t know anyone, so I know the feeling.”
Choi Ji-hoon is also the spearhead of the national team’s baseball team, which includes Kim Hye-sung, Kim Ji-chan, Choi Won-joon, and Kim Sung-yoon. “When I watched Taiwanese videos, I realized that there are a lot of pitchers who can throw 150 kilometers, and it’s not easy. The fact that we have a lot of fast players is probably our biggest strength, and it will be quite a headache for our opponents. We will do our best to achieve a good result,” he said.