Republic of Korea seal spot at Paris 2024 Olympic Games in dramatic fashion

23 Aug. 2023

Republic of Korea seal spot at Paris 2024 Olympic Games in dramatic fashion

For the 11th time in history, the Republic of Korea women’s handball team sealed a spot at the Olympic Games, after sweeping their opponents at the Asian Women’s Handball Qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, including a nail-biting 25:24 win over archrivals Japan, in the last match of the competition.

Five teams lined up in Hiroshima, Japan, in a round-robin format, with the winners sealing the coveted spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. After the first three games, two teams emerged as contenders, the Republic of Korea and Japan, the two sides which also contested the final at the 2022 AHF Asian Women’s Handball Championship.

Korea started off strong, with a 53:14 win over India, doubling down with wins over the People’s Republic of China, 33:20, and Kazakhstan, 45:24. However, Japan had a better goal difference after their 54:17 win over India and the 50:28 win over Kazakhstan and a 35:18 win over the People’s Republic of China.

That meant that a draw was enough for the last game for Japan, as they had a better goal difference than the Republic of Korea, in the deciding game for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games spot.

Last year, in the 2022 AHF Asian Women’s Handball Championship final, Japan took the game to Korea, with the most decorated Asian team in history bouncing back in the last minutes to force extra-time, where they secured the title.

The scenario repeated itself this time around too, with Japan starting off strong and taking a 5:1 lead after only five minutes, which prompted a team time-out and a rethink for Korea, which eventually managed to keep the gap under wraps, cutting it to a single goal at the break, 15:14.

With everything on the line, the Republic of Korea bounced back, used a 3:0 run to wrestle back the lead, 20:19, but the final 10 minutes of the match were still dramatic. Japan did everything they could, but goalkeeper Joeun Park was superb for Korea, with a 47% saving efficiency, to help Korea seal the win.

A nail-biting match finished with a 25:24 win for the Republic of Korea, which sealed their 11th consecutive berth for the Olympic Games. Japan, which finished second in the competition, will be heading to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments, which are due to take place next spring and decide six other qualified teams for Paris 2024.

Boeun Gim, with six goals, and Ryu Eun Hee, with four goals, were the Republic of Korea’s top scorers, scoring seven of their team’s 11 goals in the second half, where the comeback was completed.

The People's Republic of China finished on the third place, with four points, after their wins against Kazakhstan and India, with Kazakhstan finishing fourth after taking a 34:26 win over India in their last match in the competition.

Three teams have now sealed their spots for the women’s competition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – hosts and reigning champions France, European champions Norway and the Republic of Korea, three of the most decorated teams in the history of the competition.

Photo: Korean Handball Federation