Afreeca Freecs top laner Jang “MaRin” Gyeong-hwan said he’s recovering from an injury to his hand that happened during a bicycle ride.
MaRin told Fomos’ Park Sang-jin he is still practicing, so the injury doesn’t seem severe, but it has led to a slight setback in between League Champions Korea splits.
“I recently hurt my hand because I fell down while riding a bicycle, so I’m taking solo queue slowly as it heals,” he said.
MaRin also spoke in detail about his decision to return to Korea this season after playing for LGD Gaming in China. Although he was one of the high profile players who moved to China in 2016, LGD didn’t do well in the spring split and had to fight for its spot in the promotional tournament last summer. MaRin said his relationships with the Chinese players were “very good,” but pondered how he would do with smoother communication.
As he was looking for a Korean team, MaRin said that many organizations reached out to him. His final decision was thanks in part to Afreeca’s persistence.
“Afreeca seemed to want me the most,” he said. “They contacted me many times and even came to see me in person. I decided to join after looking at the lineup and thinking that it was pretty strong.”
MaRin’s return to Korea was met with a lot of hype, as he was one of many celebrated Korean players like Kim “Deft” Hyuk-kyu and Cho “Mata” Se-hyeong returning to his home region after some time in China.
Afreeca’s spring split ended with a 2-0 loss to MVP in the second round of the playoffs. The reason behind the defeat, MaRin said, was simply getting complacent.
“I didn’t think we would lose against MVP,” he told Fomos. “Because of this confidence, we got complacent and our preparation was not perfect. it was very disappointing for us, and we are working harder so we can show better performances in the summer.”
On the topic of MaRin’s rise to prominence as a member of SK Telecom T1’s top laner, there was a clear shift in MaRin’s abilities from 2014 to 2015 according to the coaching staff of SKT. When asked about his thoughts on the matter, MaRin said that he didn’t feel like the difference was made in the abilities he displayed, but rather the mindset behind it.
One of the most respected pros in the professional world, MaRin commands a following of his own in Korea separate from the teams for which he’s played, even being the center of a “conspiracy” meme that was popular in the Korean League community. At 26, he’s also one of the older pros but said he’s not done with his career just yet.
“I want to be a professional as long as I can be like my fans want me to be,” he said. “I also want to be remembered as the best top laner in history. That’s still a goal I have yet to achieve, and because there might be a player that overcomes me in the next year or two so I want to work harder and achieve my goal while also repaying the fans.”