Republic of Korea
Coach: Hanjoon Cho
Key Players: Hyesoo Song (Centre Back), Joeun Park (Goalkeeper), Jinmi Shin (Left Back), Ayeong Gim (Centre Back)
Qualification for Hungary 2018: 2017 AHF Asian Women's Junior Championship - Winners
History in Tournament: 1977-1979: DNQ, 1981: 4th, 1983: 3rd, 1985: 2nd, 1987: 4th, 1989: 2nd, 1991: 2nd, 1993: 3rd, 1995: 4th, 1997: 5th, 1999: 9th, 2001: 9th, 2003: 9th, 2005: 3rd, 2008: 3rd, 2010: 4th, 2012: 6th, 2014: 1st, 2016: 7th
Korea coach Hanjoon Cho brings his Under 20 generation to Hungary after he oversaw a disappointing seventh place finish at the last edition in Russia, back in 2016 – Korea’s lowest ranking in the competition since 2003 and fourth-worst in their 18 previous attempts following three ninth-placed finishes (1999, 2001, 2003).
He can be hopeful that Hungary 2018 will prove more fruitful though as two of the players named in his provisional squad of 28 were All-star Team members at the 2016 IHF Women’s Youth (U18) World Championship held in Slovakia.
Centre back Ayeong Gim and left back Jinmi Shin picked up a place in the best team in Slovakia in addition to their bronze medals and will be two key players for the Koreans in Hungary. Gim also finished third in the top-scorer ranks with 65 goals, one behind second-placed Sorina Tirca (ROU). Goalkeeper Joeun Park topped the best goalkeeper charts with a 33.5 save rate from 275 shots (92 saves).
The Asian side qualified for the competition after demolishing their continental opposition in the 2017 AHF Asian Women’s Junior Championship in Hong Kong last July – making it 14 titles out of 14 in the continental championship.
Their first game in Hong Kong was against Hungary 2018 group rivals China, but the Koreans will have nothing to fear after they easily won 41:25 (21:10). They face Iceland in their opener in Debrecen as well as Slovenia and Chile. But their final group match against Russia will be their toughest test as the Russians will bring most of the team who won the 2016 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship.
Group B: Russia, Korea Republic, Slovenia, PR China, Chile, Iceland
Monday 2 July: KOR-ISL (18:00)
Tuesday 3 July: CHN-KOR (16:00)
Thursday 5 July: KOR-SLO (12:00)
Friday 6 July: KOR-CHI (16:00)
Sunday 8 July: RUS-KOR (14:00)