Women’s handball Eunhye Kang “Winning three consecutive Asian Games? I will do it no matter what. I will do it no matter what!”

“Winning three consecutive Asian Games? I will do it no matter what. I will do it no matter what!”

Kang Eun-hye (27, SK Sugar Gliders), who is considered the all-time ‘pivot’ of the Korean women’s handball team, answered her goal for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games without hesitation for a second. We are determined to continue the pride of women’s handball as ‘Asia’s strongest’, both in name and reality. Korean women’s handball has reached the top spot in all Asian Games since the 1990 Beijing Games except once (3rd place in the 2010 Guangzhou Games), and has won the Asian Championships 16 times out of 19 times. This year’s Asian Games is a challenging stage for winning again after three consecutive losses following the 2014 Incheon and 2018 Jakarta and Palembang games.

“All the players on the national team are full of determination. They all have a strong will to ‘let’s do it no matter what’ with the mindset that ‘we can do it’. I think it will be possible if the people support us a lot. (Laughs)” Kang Eun-hye’s confidence lies

in There is a reason. On the 23rd of last month, she defeated Japan in the final match of the Asian qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics held in Hiroshima, Japan, and won her ticket to Paris. In this preliminaries, Korea defeated India (53-14 wins), China (33-20 wins), and Kazakhstan (45-24 wins) in order, and held its final match against Japan with three consecutive wins. Only the 1st place winner would advance to the finals of the Paris Olympics.

Korea had an overwhelming advantage over Japan in their previous record with 40 wins, 1 draw, and 5 losses, but they had a tough fight on this day. Since the game was held in Japan, it was difficult to concentrate on the game due to the one-sided support of the home crowd. Approximately 1,500 spectators who filled the place about an hour before the start of the game chanted “Nippon! (Japan)” to the sound of drums and rode the waves. If it had been the Korean cheering team, it would have been a source of strength, but since it was the opposing team, it was almost like torture. Kang Eun-hye confessed, “I had to focus on the game, but actually, I was a little nervous. I needed to communicate with the coach and my teammates during the game, but I couldn’t, so it was very difficult.”

Was that why? Korea was down 0-5 once the game started. Shooting and passing were not accurate, and turnovers occurred frequently due to being blocked by the Japanese defense. In a way, the Japanese audience’s intentional(?) support was successful. Henrik Signel, coach of the women’s handball team, called for a time-out just five minutes into the game, and the Korean national team, which had reorganized its line, began to change. Pivot players were in charge of the start and end of the first half. Kim Bo-eun (26, Samcheok City Hall) scored the first point, and Kang Eun-hye dramatically made up for one point with 10 seconds left in the first half, ending the first half at 14-15. Kang Eun-hye said, “I was actually nervous that I wouldn’t be able to put it in,” and rubbed her chest.

Korea and Japan had a close battle in the second half, with back and forth. In the end, Korea won a hard-fought 25-24 victory, achieving the feat of advancing to the Olympic finals for the 11th consecutive time, an unprecedented feat in world men’s and women’s handball history. However, it could not be said that the performance was good. In the finals of the Asian Championships last December, they lost to Japan by 6 points (10-16) in the first half, but achieved a come-from-behind victory (34-29) after overtime. To put it positively, the war between Korea and Japan can be considered a sure win, but it cannot be denied that the gap is gradually narrowing.메이저놀이터

Kang Eun-hye also admitted, “It is true that my performance this time was not good.” Korea is undoubtedly the strongest in Asia, but Japan’s level has improved significantly. “It is true that Japanese players used to be short and had poor performance. However, many professional women’s handball teams have been created in Japan, and many players are going overseas, so their competitiveness has increased. Japan is growing, and Korea is experiencing unemployment. “With teams disappearing, it’s becoming more difficult because only grades are required. There are only eight women’s handball teams.”

Eunhye Kang said she was so surprised the moment she entered Incheon International Airport after finishing the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the Paris Olympics. This is because more fans welcomed it than during the Jakarta/Palembang competition four years ago. Eunhye Kang said, “I was surprised. It was the first time that so many people came together to congratulate me. She felt more welcome than when she won the gold medal four years ago. I was surprised, but I felt so good.”

She asked if she was disappointed by the media and people who usually had no interest in her, but expected her to do well in international competitions. Kang Eun-hye didn’t hesitate for even a second. She said, “I have to do well at this to get attention, so it actually gives me strength. I’m not disappointed at all. It makes me work harder.”

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