The girl who rowed all the way to Hangzhou

Yi Yerin, the only woman to compete in canoeing at the Asian Games, saw the double rainbow while watching the race1
“Kayaking is my destiny,” she says, and wins Palembangseon, where she sees the double rainbow again.
Yi falls in love with dragon boat and switches to canoeing
“The third time, I want to see you in the sky over Hangzhou”

South Korean women’s canoeist Lee Yerin holds a canoe sprint boat on her shoulders for the camera at the Bukgang River Training Center in Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province, 성인웹툰 on Monday. Lee, who is known as “bodacious” among her teammates because of her hard work in weight training, will try to win the first medal in South Korea’s women’s canoeing history at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

It was all because of the double rainbow. Or maybe it was because of them. National canoeist Lee Yerin (24, Guri City Hall) fell in love with the sport after watching a kayaking video during a special activity in 2012 when she was in the first grade at Deoksojung Middle School in Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do. On Sept. 1 of that year, she went to Misa Rowing Stadium in Hanam-si, Gyeonggi-do with her mother to “intuit” the race. But there was no race because it was a weekend (Saturday). As we were sitting on a bench, someone asked me, “Are you here to watch the race?” I looked up and was about to answer when I saw a double rainbow in the sky. It was the first double rainbow I had ever seen in my life.

“At that moment, I thought, ‘Kayaking is my destiny,’” said Lee, who met with the team at the Bukhanggang Training Center in Hwacheon County, Gangwon Province, on Sept. 9. It was Shim Young-ae, 44, then the coach of Guri Girls’ Middle School. After transferring to Guri Girls’ Middle School, Yi began her kayaking career.

The second double rainbow appeared before her eyes on August 25, 2018, in Palembang, Indonesia. Yi was competing in the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games as a member of the South Korean unified dragoon boat team. A day before the 500-meter final, she was training with her teammates when she looked up and saw a double rainbow in the sky. The Yongseon North-South Korean unified team had won. It was the first time a South Korean team had ever won gold at an international event.

Competing in the dragon boat event at the Asian Games was the catalyst for Yi to switch from kayaking to canoeing. Originating from traditional Chinese boating, 일본야동 longboat is a team event in which the paddles used to row the boat have spatula-shaped tines on one side. Kayaks have spatulas on both sides of the paddle, and canoes only have one side like a dragon boat. “I tried out for the dragon boat team out of pure curiosity,” says Yi. After experiencing the sport firsthand, I realized that paddling for a day was more fun than I thought it would be.”

In kayaking, you sit with your butt on the bottom of the boat and paddle alternately from side to side. In a canoe, you paddle on one side while kneeling on one knee to center yourself. These differences make canoeing more physically demanding than kayaking. This is why Korean female athletes, who are relatively small compared to their European and Central Asian counterparts, are less likely to choose canoeing. Lee is the only South Korean woman to compete in canoeing at the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kick off in September.

“When I told people I wanted to switch to canoeing, they said I was ‘crazy,’ and I was also told that I could make a steady income by continuing with kayaking,” says Lee. “They said ‘don’t do it,’ so I wanted to prove them right by getting better at canoeing. Whenever I’m struggling, I think back to the memory of seeing the double rainbow and remind myself that this is the right path.”

“When I was kayaking, I would see a canoeist training alone, and I would think, ‘She doesn’t have to compete with her teammates, and it’s easy,’” Yi said. “But when I became a canoeist and tried it on my own, I realized that it’s harder. I have to fight with myself, but I keep wanting to take it easy, so now I watch other kayakers compete to keep myself motivated.”

Yi aims to reach the podium in the 200-meter canoe sprint at the Hangzhou Asian Games. If she wins a medal in Hangzhou, it will be the first Asian Games medal for Korean women’s canoeing. “I feel a lot of responsibility because I know that if I do well, I can inspire younger athletes who dream of becoming canoeists,” said Lee. “I will look up to the sky often at this Asian Games, too, just in case. 한국야동 Maybe I’ll find the third double rainbow in Hangzhou” she laughed.

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