High-stakes tournaments, gruelling practice sessions, and some good old-fashioned rivalry – Korean sports dramas have it all. Some even throw in healthy doses of romance to spice things up. If you’re on the lookout for an exciting watch this weekend, here’s our pick of the best titles.
K content has explored every genre and aspect of life possible. In fact, it’s one of the few entertainment industries that boasts of diverse titles – webtoon-based coming-of-age tales, romance centred on weather forecasters, action thrillers starring Italian mafia, the works. And with the Hallyu wave having swept through the world, many television enthusiasts have now added these shows to their consumption rotation. That said, some of the most popular watches over the past few weeks have featured pro-athletes and aspiring Olympians. With riveting storylines, these offer megadoses of inspiration. Here’s a look at a few popular Korean sports dramas.
Check our complete guide to K-dramas to watch!
Korean sports dramas to stream this weekend
Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
Directed by: Oh Hyun-jong
Cast: Lee Sung-kyung, Nam Joo-hyuk, Lee Jae-yoon, Kyung Soo-jin
Release date: November 16, 2016
Synopsis: A naturally-gifted weightlifter Kim Bok Joo (played by Lee Sung Kyung) aims to go to a college where she can continue pursuing her passion for lifting. Her friend Jung Joon-hyung (played by Nam Joo-hyuk) is a competitive swimmer. As they juggle their respective careers, they discover love. Along the way are plenty of tears and moments of laughter.
Directed by: Jung Ji-hyun
Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Nam Joo-hyuk
Release date: February 12, 2022
Synopsis: One of the most popular Korean sports dramas – this series is set in 1998 and looks at two people – Na Hee-do (played by Kim Tae-ri) and Baek Yi Jin (played by Nam Joo-hyuk) who meet when they’re 18 and 22 respectively and later fall in love. The former is a high-school fencing champion who joins the national team later on. The latter is coping with his family’s financial troubles – working part-time jobs delivering newspapers, later becoming a sports reporter for a broadcasting network. Along the way they explore love, relationships, and ambition.
Fight For My Way
Directed by: Lee Na-jeong
Cast: Park Seo-joon, Kim Ji-won, Ahn Jae-hong, Song Ha-yoon
Release date: May 22, 2017
Synopsis: Kong Dong-Man (played by Park Seo-joon) is a former taekwondo player turned MMA fighter. Cho Ae-ra (played by Kim Ji-won) works at a department store and hopes to be a television anchor. Kim Hoo-man (played by Ahn Jae-hong) and Baek Seoul-hee (played by Song Ha-yoon) are a couple caught up in relationship hiccups. The series explores all of their lives – firing up ambition along the way.
High School King of Savvy
Directed by: Yoo Je-won
Cast: Seo In-guk, Lee Ha-na, Lee Soo-hyuk, Lee Yul-eum
Release date: June 16, 2014
Synopsis: This sports Korean drama looks at Lee Min-suk (played by Seo In-guk) – a varsity ice hockey player who looks a lot like his older brother. He leads a fairly regular high school life until he gets a mysterious call from his sibling asking him to take his place as a high-ranking executive at a new job. Along the way of his impersonation act, he discovers how a Korean office works and falls in love with an eccentric temp Jung Soo-Young (played by Lee Ha-na).
Mental Coach Jegal
Directed by: Son Jeong-hyun
Cast: Jung Woo, Lee Yoo-mi, Kwon Yul, Park Se-young
Release date: September 12, 2022
Synopsis: Jegal Gil (played by Jung Woo) is a mental healthcare coach and a former Taekwondo athlete who was banned from the national team. He helps players who are down in the dumps, supports retired athletes, and pushes professionals to victory. This includes gold medalist short-track speed skater Cha Ga-Eul (played by Lee Yoo-mi) and star South Korean swimmer Lee Mu Gyeol (played by Moon Yoo-kang)
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Sassy Go Go
Directed by: Lee Eun-jin
Cast: Jung Eun-ji, Lee Won-keun, Chae Soo-bin, Cha Hak-yeon, Ji Soo, Chae Soo-bin
Release date: October 5, 2015
Synopsis: At the exclusive Sevit High School in Seoul, Kang Yeon-doo (played by Jung Eun-ji) is the leader of the street dance club “Real King.” The crew features a group of students who stick together because of their poor academic performance. Kim Yeol (played by Lee Won-keun) on the other hand is the President of “Baek Ho” – an elite club composed of students from the top 5 percent. When the two groups are forced to fuse to create a cheerleading squad – the two need to put their differences aside. Along the way they discover love, heartbreak, and everything in between.
Directed by: Park Hyeon-seok
Cast: Park Se-wan, Jang Dong-yoon
Release date: December 3, 2018
Synopsis: This show is set in a vocational high school based in Geoje. Here six students dream to win a dance competition, struggling together on the path to get there.
All images: Courtesy Netflix/Voot/IMDB
This story first appeared in Lifestyle Asia India