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Former star player blooms baseball in Laos

Posted January. 08, 2021 07:23,   

Updated January. 08, 2021 07:23


Lee Man-soo, 63, the chairman of the Hulk Foundation, one of star players of Korean professional baseball, said on Thursday, “The first baseball tournament will be held at a baseball field in Laos, which is truly thrilling.”

The 1st Korean Ambassador to Laos Baseball Tournament will be held from Jan 9 to Feb. 27 at the DGB Baseball Stadium, located near Vientiane, the capital of Laos. A total of six teams, three men and three women teams, will compete in the weekend league to determine the winner.

Completed last year after several years of hard work, the baseball park is the first and only artificial turf stadium on the Indochinese Peninsula. The Lao government, impressed by Chairman Lee's passion for expanding the base of baseball in Laos for many years, provided 69,000 square meters of land free of charge, and Daegu Bank, a Korean bank, offered a construction cost of 300 million won. Also with donations and Chairman Lee‘s own money, the first international standard ballpark was built in Laos.

The relationship between Lee and Laos dates back to the end of 2014. Chairman Lee, who stepped down from Korean professional baseball team SK Wyverns coach at the time, went to Laos with an aim to spread baseball in the country.

“High school players still do not know baseball well enough to bunt even though they are two outs,” Lee said. “Although it is still in its infancy, I hope to keep their body and mind healthy through the sport of baseball.” In fact, among the “Lao J Brothers,” which value personality more than baseball, there are many players who go to prestigious universities or land a job at major institutions.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Chairman Lee is staying in Korea since it is not easy to visit Laos. “Now we are only taking the first steps,” Lee said. “I will try to spread baseball to other countries in the Indochinese Peninsula such as Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia.”

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com