Golden generation wins another gold for the Republic of Korea at the AHF Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship
11 Jul. 2023
For the 16th time in 17 editions, the Republic of Korea were crowned champions at the AHF Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship after a flawless performance in the competition held in Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong.
The 10 participating teams were divided into two groups of five, with the top two sides in each group progressing to the semi-finals and earning a chance to fight for the title.
Big favourites to seal the title, after missing out on the competition in 2022 due to the COVID-19 regulations, which saw them fail to make an appearance in the competition held by India, the Republic of Korea had an outstanding performance in the preliminary round, sweeping their opponents, delivering a top attacking performance.
Scoring 160 goals in four matches, Korea, which were boasting the golden generation which secured the trophy at the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, threw off with a clear 46:9 win over Hong Kong and doubled down with a 44:26 win over Kazakhstan.
The most entertaining and balanced match was the one against arch-rivals Japan, which saw the Republic of Korea take a 19:17 lead at half time, holding strong until the end when they clinched a 34:30 win and secured the first place in the group.
In Group B, the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Taipei finished on the top two places, with China securing four wins in four matches in the preliminary round, including a clear win, 27:14, against the Chinese Taipei.
The two semi-finals were nothing alike, with a big surprise taking place in the game between the People’s Republic of China and Japan, with the former side taking an outstanding 28:27 win to secure their first final berth since 2017.
In the other semi-final, the Republic of Korea were clearly the best side, dominating the hosts, Chinese Taipei, and taking a 41:20 win, which saw them boast a big favourite tag in the final.
There was no doubt about the winners in the match for the trophy, with the Republic of Korea jumping to a clear 34:15 win after they had a 14-goal lead at the break (21:7). The MVP of the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship, Kim Minseo was the top scorer, with nine goals, as Kim Seojin, another player who shined at North Macedonia 2022, added eight more goals.
In the bronze medal game, Japan took a clear win over the Chinese Taipei (43:23) and earned their sixth bronze medal and their 11th in total at the AHF Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship.
The 2023 AHF Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship was also a qualifying event for the 2024 IHF Women’s Junior World Championship, which will take place in North Macedonia, and the top five sides made it through to North Macedonia 2024.
The Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Chinese Taipei were joined by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which clinched the place with a 27:24 win in the Placement Match 5/6 against Kazakhstan.
Kim Minseo was once again named the MVP of the competition, with two other Korea players, left wing Kim Seojin and right back Lee Hyewon making the All-Star team. Chinese Taipei’s Hsin-Yun Wu was the top goalkeeper, Japan’s centre back Toko Yamaguchi and left back Ayumi Rokugawa were also selected for the All-Star team, as did China’s right wing Shi Zi Han and line player Hou Chang Qing.
Final standings 2023 AHF Asian Women’s Junior Handball Championship
1. Republic of Korea
2. People’s Republic of China
4. Chinese Taipei, 5. Islamic Republic of Iran, 6. Kazakhstan, 7. Uzbekistan, 8. Hong Kong, 9. India, 10. Kuwait
Photo: Asian Handball Federation