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(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea regains gold medal in women's handball

All Headlines 21:27 October 01, 2014

(ATTN: ADDS comments in paras 3-5, 11-12, photo)
By Kim You Jin

INCHEON, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- Powered by right back Ryu Eun-hee's eight goals, South Korea thrashed Japan 29-19 to win the women's handball gold medal at the Asian Games on Wednesday.

The Seonhak Handball Gymnasium in the western port city was filled with thousands of South Korean spectators waiting to see their home country get back on top. The arena burst into an uproar every time a South Korean player snatched the ball into her hands.

The South Korean team set the pace early on as it gradually widened the score 9-3 just 15 minutes into the match and ended the first half at 17-5.

<YNAPHOTO path='C:/YNA/YNACLI~1/Down/Article/AEN20141001011951320_01_i.jpg' id='' title='' caption='South Korean handball player Ryu Eun-hee aims for a goal during the women&apos;s final round at the Incheon Asian Games on Oct. 1, 2014. (Yonhap) '/>

Team Japan struggled to keep up and rake in as many goals as possible, but the host country's players did not pull any punches, with Ryu landing six goals against the entire Japanese team's five in the first half.

The South Korean team was blunt about its eagerness not just to win, but to do its best to prove its credentials as the champion handball players. The team had been craving to redeem itself after its slip-up at the 2010 Asian Games when it lost to Japan in the semifinals and had to settle for the bronze.

South Korea had won the previous five gold medals handed out in the sport before 2010.

Although the Japanese team seemed to pull itself together later in the match, the score gap only got wider, standing at 26-12 about 17 minutes into the second half.

While the two competitors' distance narrowed down to nine goals nearly two minutes before the end, left wing Choi Su-min scored the last goal to finish the match at 29-19.

"We're very happy that we were able to erase our frustration from the Guangzhou Asian Games," South Korean team captain Woo Sun-hee said after the victory, looking to the time her team had to let go of their championship in 2010. "I don't know what to say, but I'm very glad that we were able to pay off our efforts in training with the gold medal."

Asked about her mindset before the match, the 36-year-old veteran said, "I always face a tournament as if it were my last in order to do my best and get good results (that I won't regret)."

Center back Kim Ona said with a smile, "Thinking back to our loss in Guangzhou, I'm very lighthearted now that we finally won."


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