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Heavy snow in Kazakhstan delays S. Korea's opener at Asian Women's Handball Championship

All Headlines 21:51 December 19, 2010

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense of its Asian women's handball crown has been delayed by heavy snow in Kazakhstan, handball officials here said Sunday.

South Korea had been scheduled to open the Asian Women's Handball Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, against Thailand at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, local time. But the South Korean team only landed in Kazakhstan after 4 p.m. and was unable to arrive at the arena on time. The Korea Handball Federation said Japan also couldn't make it to its 2 p.m. game against Uzbekistan.

"Uzbekistan and Thailand (which had been set to square off on Tuesday) ended up playing on Sunday," the federation said. "Dates for the South Korea-Thailand and Japan-Uzbekistan games will be determined later."

South Korean players were to fly to Almaty on Friday evening, but their flight was canceled because of heavy snow. They instead traveled to Delhi, India, Saturday afternoon for a connecting flight to Kazakhstan, but inclement weather forced further delay.

South Korea is a two-time defending champion of the Asian championship, and it has won 10 of 12 Asian titles overall. It is paired with Japan, Thailand and Uzbekistan in Group B. Group A is made up of China, Kazakhstan, Iran and North Korea.

The top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals. Those four countries will earn berths at the world championships next year in Brazil.

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