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Posted : 2013-04-25 16:54
Updated : 2013-04-25 16:54

Pretty, feisty actress Lee is new model of women

Actress Lee Si-young, right, lands a left-handed straight in the face of Kim Da-som in the women’s 48-kilogram competition at the National Amateur Boxing Championships in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, Wednesday. / Yonhap

By Jung Min-ho


Sweat was pouring off her swollen face and her legs were trembling after a brutal fight, but actress Lee Si-young smiled happily in the ring at the National Amateur Boxing Championships, Wednesday.

With her win in the women’s 48-kilogram event, Lee, who starred in the recent romantic comedy ''How to Use Guys with Secret Tips,’’ became the country’s first mainstream entertainer, male or female, to make it to the national boxing team. Her goal is to medal at the Asian Games in Incheon next year.

But what is driving the 31-year-old in her relentless pursuit of athletic excellence, when her combination of girl-next-door sexiness and natural comedic timing had seemed to promise a decade worth of safe and lucrative, Jennifer Aniston-like roles?

Her management agency, J, Wide-Company, is clearly uneasy about Lee doubling as a boxer. The company’s representatives go out of their way to say that Lee’s stint in boxing will be temporary, and if she lands some sporting brand commercials on the way, then so be it.

Their concerns for Lee are predictable and honestly graceless. No athlete competes with the courage of a boxer, and whenever she steps into the ring, Lee is risking injury, or worse, damaging her face which may or may not be an expensive product of artificial beautification.

And this is a culture that still prefers its actresses to be elegant and sophisticated, which are hardly the adjectives applied to Lee when she puts on her gloves and headgear.

However, Lee seems unfazed by these worries. She has been putting her heart and effort into boxing since she fell for the sport while playing a role in a television drama in 2010. That drama was cancelled, but Lee’s passion for boxing survived and thrived.

''I still believe I have a long way to go. I have great goals to achieve through hard work,’’ Lee said after the bout, noting her ultimate goal is to win a gold medal at the Incheon Asian Games next year. And now few doubt she will try.

Of course, the process of gaining respect as an athlete didn’t come easy for Lee. After joining Incheon City Boxing Team in January, she moved to the city from Seoul to save time for training. In March, she even underwent surgery for a slipped disk. Facing Lee in her moment of truth Wednesday was Kim Da-som, a fighter who was 12 years younger and had a meaner punch.

Kim abused Lee in the opening rounds. However, Lee, trained in an out-boxing style to exploit her reach, gamely maintained her composure. She took blows to the head with open eyes. Her guard was continuously tight. She failed to dominate her more aggressive opponent, but smartly and calmly took the points that were given to her. In the end, the judges favored Lee 22-20.

What made the fans fascinated was not the result. Rather, it was Lee’s pure passion for something in an age when everyone is trained to calculate the gains and losses in whatever they do. So, for those who always fear to lose even without anything to lose, Lee’s punching was perfect catharsis.

Maybe Lee’s sports achievements will boost her acting career in a way that her agency never imagined. Some directors are already calling to make movies loosely based on her journey as a boxer.  

Lee has been a star, but not exactly a megastar: her most successful film has been the romantic comedy ''Dangerous Meeting,’’ which sold about 3 million tickets.

When some fret that Lee was approaching her twilight years in show business where a plethora of pretty-faced actresses come and disappear every day, she reset her starting point through the new challenge and showed what can be achieved if we face fear with passion.

관련 한글 기사

'복서 배우' 이시영, 여자 복싱 태극마크 획득

배우 이시영(31·인천시청)이 여자 복싱 국가대표 최종 선발전에서 짜릿한 역전승으로 태극 마크를 달았다.

이시영은 24일 충북 충주시 충주실내체육관에서 열린 2013 국가대표 최종 선발전 여자 48㎏급 결승에서 김다솜(19·수원태풍체)을 22-20 판정으로 꺾었다.

상대의 저돌적인 인파이팅에 고전했지만 긴 리치를 바탕으로 한 오른손 잽과 적중률 높은 왼손 스트레이트를 적절히 활용해 역전승을 일궈냈다.

경기 초반 분위기는 김다솜이 주도했다. 김다솜은 빠른 풋워크로 이시영의 오른손을 피해 파고들며 유효타를 성공시켰다.

이시영도 지지 않고 특유의 받아치기로 차곡차곡 포인트를 쌓았지만 2라운드까지 7-9로 밀렸다.

이시영은 3라운드부터 본격적인 반격에 나섰다. 1, 2라운드에서 활발하게 움직이느라 지친 김다솜의 안면에 왼손 스트레이트에 이은 오른손 훅을 수차례 적중시켰다.

여기에 김다솜이 오픈블로우(손바닥 부위로 치는 것) 반칙으로 2점을 감점받으면서 16-14로 앞서나가기 시작했다.

4라운드에서도 이시영은 김다솜의 거센 반격을 피해 유효타를 꾸준히 꽂아넣으며 승리를 거뒀다.

당초 이시영이 이날 최종 선발전에서 우승할 가능성은 그리 높지 않은 것으로 점쳐졌다. 무릎 상태가 좋지 않아 훈련을 제대로 소화하지 못했기 때문이다.

인천시청 김원찬 감독은 '이시영이 무릎 수술을 받는 바람에 한달밖에 운동하지 못했지만 성실하게 훈련해 실력이 많이 늘었다'면서 '오히려 시합에서 긴장해 제 실력을 다 보여주지 못한 것 같아 아쉽다'고 말했다.

지난해 12월 국가대표 1차 선발전 여자 48㎏급 결승에서 박초롱에게 판정패한 이시영은 2위에 오르며 이번 최종 선발전 출전 자격을 얻었다.

원래 최종 선발전은 1차 선발전 1, 2위와 2차 선발전 1, 2위가 크로스 토너먼트 방식으로 치른다.

그러나 박초롱이 체급을 51㎏급으로 변경하면서 준결승 상대자가 없어진 이시영은 곧장 결승전으로 직행했다.

이시영은 올해 10월 열리는 전국체전에서는 체급을 한 단계 올려 51㎏급에 출전할 예정이다. 최종 목표인 인천 아시안게임에는 48㎏급이 없기 때문이다.

이시영은 경기를 마치고 가진 기자회견에서 연예인으로써 체중을 늘리는 것이 부담되지 않느냐는 질문에 '3일간 물도 못 먹고 감량을 하는 게 너무 힘들었다. 앞으로 48㎏급은 못 뛸 것 같다'고 대답했다.

이시영은 이날 경기를 위해 1.5㎏을 감량했다.

그는 이어 '51㎏급에 훌륭한 기량을 가진 선수가 많지만 나도 그만큼 체중을 올리는 것이어서 열심히 하면 승산이 있다고 본다'고 말했다.



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