‘Gold Medalist’ Choi Ji-min “Park Young-hyun and I wouldn’t have been able to go if we had been AG last year”

“This season is a very happy year!”

For KIA Tigers left-hander Choi Ji-min (20), this year is one of the meaningful years in his life. Until last season, he was a rookie who had not been able to establish himself in the first team, but during the off-season, he literally ‘grew up by storm’ and changed his life.

This season, he played as a member of KIA’s sure-to-win team and played in 57 games, recording 6 wins (3 losses), 12 holds, 3 saves, and an ERA of 2.16. Thanks to this, we were able to participate in the ‘2022 Hangzhou Asian Games,’ which was delayed by a year due to the ‘COVID-19 pandemic’. This is his first national team appearance in his career.굿모닝토토

Choi Ji-min, who met with reporters before the home game against SSG Landers held at Gwangju-KIA Champions Field on the 10th, said, “I once said this to (KT Wiz) Park Young-hyun as a joke. ‘If the Asian Games had been held last year, we couldn’t have gone.’ This season is a very happy year for me. “I got to participate in the All-Star Game, wear the Taegeuk emblem, and even win a gold medal, so it was a truly exciting year,” he said with a big smile.

Choi Ji-min pitched in 6 games last year and recorded an ERA of 13.50, and KT right-hander Park Young-hyun pitched in 52 games and recorded an ERA of 3.66, showing some good performances, but it is difficult to say that he can become a member of the national team. These two worked hard based on their experience in the first year of their debut, and did not miss the opportunity that eventually came their way.

Choi Ji-min also performed a brilliant fight in Hangzhou, China. Choi Ji-min’s performance in the Asian Games is 4 games played, 1 win, 2 holds, and an ERA of 0.00 (4 scoreless innings). In every important game, Choi Ji-min took the mound in the 7th inning and held the team scoreless.

Looking back on his first international stage, Choi Ji-min said, “I was less nervous than I thought. “He had a strong desire to throw well.” Regarding his appearance on the 7th, which was the final match against Chinese Taipei, he said, “Starting pitcher Dong-ju Moon pitched so well in front that I had a strong desire to take the lead in the middle until the end. “I felt good because as a result he was able to throw well,” he said with a smile.

The national team lost 0-4 in the second group match against Chinese Taipei on the 2nd, making their prospects for a gold medal look bleak. Choi Ji-min said, “After losing to Taiwan, the team atmosphere was not good and there were many negative views that we would not win the championship, but it is not over yet and we have a chance to get revenge in the finals, so I was determined to do my best in the remaining games.” He said, “When we actually faced Taiwan again in the final, it was a battle of revenge and I didn’t want to lose. “I think all the players worked together with one mind and one intention, resulting in good results,” he said.

Including Choi Ji-min himself, classmates born in 2003 and second-year pros made great performances. Starting with Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha), Park Young-hyun (KT), Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte), and Choi Ji-min herself. Last year, he was only a rookie, but he grew well and in his second year as a professional, he wore the Taegeuk symbol and promoted national prestige. Choi Ji-min laughed, saying, “It was nice to go to an international competition with my friends, but it was even more meaningful and nice to go and perform well and get good results.”

His confidence also grew. He is confident that his pitch can be used by foreign hitters as well. Choi Ji-min said, “I started to think that my efforts would be effective on a bigger stage. “I want to continue participating in international competitions in the future if the national team calls me at any time,” he said.

Choi Ji-min, who has the Asian Games gold medal hanging in his room, is now determined to die for the KIA Tigers’ fall baseball season. Choi Ji-min said, “I enjoyed winning the Asian Games until yesterday. “Since I rejoined the team today, I will do my best to help our team rise to the highest level possible,” he pledged.