Korea qualify for London 2012
For 45 minutes the decisive match of the Women’s Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Changzhou was on the edge, but in the end Korea celebrated again. Thanks to the 27:22 (10:11) victory over Japan the Korean women have qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London as the winner of this tournament.
Runners-up Japan, who was defeated for the first time in Changzhou, will participate in one of the three Olympic Qualification Tournaments played from 25 to 27 May 2012. Both teams had been equal in points before the last match day after four victories each.
Korea is the third team to qualify for the Women’s Olympic Handball Tournament in London after Great Britain (host) and Norway (European Champion). The fourth team will be known on Sunday night 23 October (local time), when the women’s final of the Pan American Games in Guadalajara (Mexico) will be finished.
Two more direct tickets to London will be decided at the Women’s World Championship in Brazil in December and the African Olympic Qualification in Morocco in January.
Twelve teams will fight then for the last six remaining places in London at the Olympic Qualification Tournaments.
The Korean women have qualified for the Olympic Games for the eighth consecutive time – and they have been one of the most successful nations since the 1980s: In 1988 and 1992 Korea became Olympic Champion, in 1984, 1996 and 2004 they won the silver medal and in 2008 they took Bronze. Japan has only once (in 1976) participated in the Olympics – in 2008 they failed in the premiere of the qualification tournaments.
But the Koreans had to fight very hard to remain unbeaten in Changzhou, as Japan played a brilliant match. At the break the Japanese team was in the lead by 11:10 thanks to their goalkeeper Toshiro Hiromi, before the game turned in the second half. Until the score of 16:15 for Korea the game was a real thriller at eye level. But by scoring a 6:2 series to 22:17 and their strong defence, the Koreans decided the “final” of this tournament, played with six teams in the round-robin system.
Already on Thursday 20 October DPR Korea had taken the fifth place thanks to their first victory – a clear 33:10 (15:4) over the sixth ranked team from Turkmenistan.
In the final match of the tournament in Changzhou host China secured the third place with six points in the end by narrowly beating Kazakhstan 22:21 (9:7). Already on Thursday DPR Korea had taken their first victory – a clear 33:10 (15:4) over the sixth ranked team from Turkmenistan.
As Kazakhstan and DPR Korea are equal in points (3) and had tied in their direct encounter, the goal difference had to decide about the fourth and fifth place. As DPR Korea had a difference of -1 they rank ahead of Kazakhstan (-8).
4. DPR Korea
TEXT: Björn Pazen