If both men and women win gold in Hangzhou, they will be confirmed to advance to the 2024 Paris Olympics
Korean men’s and women’s hockey teams will take on the challenge of ‘recovering their pride’ side by side at this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games.
Korean men’s and women’s hockey have reigned as global powerhouses,
with both men and women winning Olympic silver medals, but they have both shown a bit of a slump recently.
At the previous Asian Games, the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games,
the women placed 4th and the men ranked 5th, failing to win a medal.
Neither men nor women could even participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics finals. 스포츠토토
Since women’s hockey became an official Asian Games event at the 1982 New Delhi Games,
2018 was the first time that both men’s and women’s hockey failed to win a medal at the Asian Games.
Additionally, the 2021 Tokyo Games marked the first time in 37 years since the 1984 Los Angeles Games that neither men’s nor women’s hockey participated in the Olympic finals.
Korean women’s hockey won silver medals at the 1988 Seoul and 1996 Atlanta Olympics,
men’s hockey won silver medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics,
but recently, even in Asia, advancement to the semifinals cannot be guaranteed.
However, as President Lee Sang-hyun of the Korea Hockey Association took office in early 2021,
the national team’s strength has gradually recovered, and not only is it possible to win a medal at this year’s Hangzhou Asian Games,
but it is also cautiously inflating its ‘golden prospects’.
The Korea Hockey Association also took steps to boost the players’
morale by promising a reward of 50 million won for the gold medal of this tournament.
First, the men’s national team led by coach Shin Seok-kyo placed fourth at the Asian Champions Trophy held in Chennai, India in August.
Recently, six countries, including Korea, China, Japan, India, Pakistan, and Malaysia, compete in Asian men’s hockey.
Among these, experts say that it will be a close match with India having a slight edge and the other five countries having a close match depending on the conditions on the day of the match.
Coach Shin Seok-kyo said, “When I first took charge of the national team,
I set three goals: to enter the top 10 in the world rankings and to advance to the World Cup and Olympic finals
Of these, only advancing to the Olympic finals remains unsolved.”
Currently, the world ranking has fallen back to 12th, but it rose to 9th place at one point,
breaking away from the stagnation, and advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Argentina,
the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic champion, at the Hockey World Cup in January of this year.
If you win the Asian Games, you will receive a ticket to the finals of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Coach Shin Seok-kyo said, “In fact, it would have been more advantageous for us if the Asian Games had been held in 2022 as originally scheduled,” adding,
“Because it was postponed by a year, some of the national team’s key players retired,
key national team players such as Lee Nam-yong and Jang Jong-hyun were recently injured.
“That’s why I only joined team training this week,” he said with regret.
Korea was placed in Group B along with China, Malaysia, Oman, Thailand, and Indonesia at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Coach Shin said, “The games against China and Malaysia will be the gateway to advancing to the semifinals,” and pledged, “I will do my best to prepare for the remaining period and create a foundation for Korean men’s hockey to compete at the top of the world again.”
The women’s national team, led by coach Han Jin-soo, forms the ‘Big Four’ in Asia along with China, Japan, and India.
Korea entered Group A along with India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong in this tournament.
Coach Han Jin-soo said of the national team’s mood, saying, “Our hockey people were very disappointed because of the poor performance in the recent Asian Games and Olympics.
The coaching staff and players have been training for three years with the determination to go to the 2024 Paris Olympics.”
In terms of world rankings, India is the highest in Asia at 7th place, followed by Japan 10th, China 11th, and Korea 12th.
Coach Han Jin-soo said, “Key players such as Ahn Hyo-joo and Lee Yu-ri had injuries early this year,
but they have now recovered and returned.”
He added, “We are the lowest in the world rankings among the top four in Asia,
but match results are not necessarily in order of ranking.
“That’s why I plan to run to the death with the players,” he said.
The men’s national team will leave on the 20th and the women’s team will leave on the 21st,
with the men’s team starting the first round of the group stage on the 24th and the women’s team on the 25th.
The last gold medals from the Asian Hockey Games remain the 2006 Doha Games for men and the 2014 Incheon Games for women.