Posted May. 03, 2005 23:07,
The 83rd Womens Soft Tennis Championship (sponsored by Dong-a Ilbo and managed by the Korea Soft Tennis Association and Anseong City), which began as Koreas first female athletic match, will kick off at the sports complex in Anseong City on May 4.
The highlight of the championship, which is the longest and most prestigious of its kind (among singles events), will be a final match between the Japanese-educated, Kim Ji-eun (23. Nonghyup) and future ace Kim Gyeong-ryeon (19. Anseong City) in a single match in the general division
Kim Ji-eun, who went to Japan in her first year at Anseong Girls High School, lived in Japan over the last five years, and returned to Korea last year, attracted public attention by winning the championship last year.
Although Kim Ji-eun is considered one of the most likely winners this year as well, its not certain after she stopped playing due to debilitating back pain at the end of last month.
However, Kim pledges to defend her championship title and showed her strong will by resuming training on May 1.
The coach of Nonghyup, Jang Han-seop, praised Kim, saying, Even after I told her to have more rest, she left her bed, saying that she couldnt just rest in the run up to the big match.
With support from home fans behind her, Kim Gyeong-ryeon is a promising player who the championship has produced.
Kim Gyeong-ryeon won three consecutive championship titles in doubles play while she was still a student at Anseong Girls High School, and won the singles title two years in a row.
Last year, when she had her first debut match out of school, she won the championship in doubles, but suffered from the pain of dropping out of the first round of the singles competition due to severe flu.
Regarding the team competition in the general division, the strongest competitor, Nonghyup, which is aiming for its second consecutive win and the 27th championship title in its history, and the Anseong City, which has been ranked second over the last two years, are expected to compete against each other.
Anseong City will challenge for its first championship title by letting a former member of the national team, Kim Yeong-sook, return to the team.
Kim Yeong-sook retired from playing tennis because of her marriage and childbirth.
Around 340 players and staff making up 37 teams from eight divisions, including the general elementary, junior high school, high school, and university divisions, the married-women division, and the newly married-women division, will participate in the championship, which was established in 1923.