Ssireum is a Korean wrestling game and sport that competes with each other by holding each other's legs. Recently, a TV program called “Joy of Ssireum” has been broadcasting, and Ssireum has been gaining popularity day by day through YouTube and Social media. We interviewed Park Jung-woo, who appeared in "The Joy of Ssireum”, a challenge for Taebaek and Geumgang-class top.
The Inha Times(IT) : Hello, Jung-woo. Please introduce yourself.
Jung Woo Park : Hello, I'm Ssireum wrestler Taebaek class Park Jung Woo. (Taebaek class means a weight class of 80kg or less in Ssireum.) I have top title at a Taebaek class. I belong to Uiseong County Office Ssireum team.
IT : What made you start Ssireum wrestling?
Jung Woo Park : I started Ssireum wrestling when I was in 5th grade in elementary school, and I won the first prize there, so I got started Ssireum wrestling at the recommendation of my physical education teacher. It's already been over 10 years since I started Ssireum.
IT : What is the charm of Ssireum wrestling you think?
Jung Woo Park : I think the charm of Ssireum is that the players can feel the tension each other because they put the flesh together in the match. And the Korean stuff is boiling up as it is a sport on the sand. Also, the result of game is decided quickly, so I feel like it is a thrilling sport than any other sports.
IT : How do you usually manage your weight or take care of your body before the game?
Jung Woo Park : I like noodles really much and gain weight easily, so I lose about 5kg before start the game. I eat a diet that consists of chicken breasts, fruits, and spring rolls before two weeks of the game. And I tend to make my life more regular before the game.
IT : What was the most hard moment of your Ssireum athlete career?
Jung Woo Park : I think the most difficult time for Ssireum was when I was in high school. When I was in high school, my body and mind control were so hard. As I started living in the dorm, I was like walking on eggshells. Because I had to try what’s going on with teachers and senior at school and had to read their mind. Also, training was hard as it is.
IT : After gaining popularity through YouTube and broadcast, what has changed your life?
Jung Woo Park : The first thing after appearing on the show is many people started to recognize me. Also, I became more and more proud of being a Ssireum wrestler, as there are more people who want to know Ssireum and Ssireum wrestler. And I have been working hard not only in sports but also outside of sports like interview or photography in magazine because many media have been interested in Ssireum.
IT : Tell me your future goals and plans.
Jung Woo Park : My goal is to always do my best as an athlete and continue to be top at a Taebaek class. If I can do anything to promote and improve Ssireum, I will work hard and become a great athlete that I can remember to my juniors. Thank you!
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