Korea’s U-18 men's national handball team reached the top of Asia for the first time in eight years.
On Thursday, Korea defeated Iran 26-22 in the final of the 9th Asian Youth Championship held in Manama, Bahrain. It has reclaimed the top spot in Asia for the first time in eight years since 2014. Korea won the title for the third time, following the first in the inaugural 2005 and 2014. In this tournament, which was held up to the ninth period, Korea surpassed Qatar and Bahrain (2 times in total) to become the country that garnered the most wins.
Korea played at their own pace against Iran, who won 29-24 in the first group stage match (August 20). After losing 1-2 at the beginning of the game, the Team Korea continued to stay ahead of Iran until the end of the game. In the 12th minute of the second half, the victory was secured by a lead of 21-14, 7 points. Kim Jae-kwon, Lee Ho-hyeon, and Choi Ji-hwan scored five goals each to lead the team's attack, while Kang Ryun-hyun followed with four goals.
Korea’s men's handball, which seemed to be lagging behind even in the Asian region by placing 5th each at the Men’s Asian Championships in Saudi Arabia in January this year and the U-20 Asian Championships in Bahrain in July, saved face thanks to the U-18 handball players. The Korean U-18 men's handball team realized undefeated victories in six matches, including wins against Iran and Bahrain in the Middle East, both of which have recently emerged as handball powerhouses in Asia, and also defeated its archenemy, Japan.
Center back Choi Ji-hwan, who scored 15 points and three assists while calmly coordinating the game on the court, was selected as the MVP of the match. Goalkeeper Kim Hyun-min was selected as the best 7 of the tournament along with Choi Ji-hwan.
Bae-Jung Kim firstname.lastname@example.org