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Demoralized Women`s Handball Preps for Bronze Match

Posted August. 23, 2008 09:40,   


“At any rate, I hope we will do well in the bronze medal match and be less affected by the controversial call,” said women`s handball team coach Lim Young-chul.

His team`s morale took a nosedive Thursday after a questionable decision cost Korea the semifinal against Norway, but members will gear up for the third-place match today.

The Korean women’s handball team advanced to the semifinals for the sixth consecutive time since the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The team has made the final four times.

The team has won five medals in the past six Olympics -- two gold and three silver. Korea lost in the bronze match in 2000 to Norway 22-21.

“We were disappointed to hear this morning that our protest was rejected, but we have pledged to win the bronze medal to reward the people’s support. The atmosphere has also become as bright as before,” said team member Oh Seong-ok.

Oh had burst into tears after the referee`s call gave Norway the win.

Korea will face Hungary, which it beat 33-22 in the group phase.

The International Handball Federation rejected Korea`s protest, saying the result of the match between Korea and Norway was based on fair refereeing.

Korea, however, can raise an objection to the federation`s jury, which comprises nine members including the federation`s executive director. The jury’s ruling is final and irrevocable.

Handball sources say there is little chance that the jury will reverse the ruling. Even if the jury unexpectedly rules in favor of Korea, it will likely be too late since both the final and bronze match will be played today.

“I don’t think the jury will make its conclusion anytime soon. They may use up time, saying it has to be thoroughly reviewed. The jury is unlikely to push themselves and reverse the deliberation committee’s decision,” said Jung Hyeong-kyun, vice president of the Korea Handball Federation.

The International Handball Federation`s rejection apparently seeks to uphold referees` authority. The video replay shows the ball did not cross the goal line as time expired, but making a correct judgment with the naked eye is tough.

If the federation reverses referees’ calls every time a similar situation occurs, it will invite frequent complaints.

The lingering question is, however, the qualification of the referees and strict application of regulations. Controversial calls are common in the Asia Handball Federation because of loopholes. For the international federation to reduce the number of controversial calls, it should ensure through regulations that disputes over questionable calls are reduced.

Others also say Norway’s final possession did not properly start at the half line, but this has been neglected since most of the attention was paid to whether the last goal should have counted or not.