After World Cup miss, Korea drop in at Hockey World League Final to observe top teams
After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup, Korea hockey team is targeting the Asian Games to restore pride and is at the sidelines of the Hockey World League Final (HWLF) in Bhubaneswar, taking notesother sports Updated: Dec 02, 2017 18:46 IST
Even though Korea aren’t participating at the Hockey World League Final (HWLF), they are still here to play practice games and observe the top teams.
After failing to qualify for the 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup following a fourth-place finish at the Asia Cup at Dhaka this October, the Koreans are targeting the Asian Games to restore pride and for that they have started right away.
Coach Shin Seok Kyo and his men are on a 10-day visit, hoping to see each team in action at least once.
“We have been enjoying training, playing practice matches against local teams, and assessing the strengths and the weaknesses of all the big teams here,” coach Shin told Hindustan Times on Saturday while watching the match between Olympic champions Argentina and Belgium.
The Korean team, which reached the state capital of Odisha almost a week ahead of the Hockey World League Final, beat world No. 1 Argentina 3-2 in a practice game. “It was really encouraging for my boys, who tamed Argentina. Though it was only a practice game, we gained a lot of confidence,” said Shin.
They also played matches against a local outfit East Coast Railway. “We have 20 players out of which 10 are young and will play the Asian Games,” he said.
“These are high level matches for us. Playing a friendly match against Argentina was a big exposure for many of our players and I hope this will help in our preparations for the Jakarta event, which is also the Olympic qualifier,” he said. “Even against the local side, we learnt many things.”
The team returns home on Monday. At the Asia Cup at Dhaka this October, Korea missed out on a bronze after losing to Pakistan 3-6 to finish fourth.
“That was a bad miss against Pakistan. We could have made it to the World Cup,” said Shin.
“(But) We are building a strong team for the future and giving exposure to youngsters by allowing them to watch the top teams play,” he added.