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South Korea wins bronze at Beijing Olympics women's handball
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17:12, August 23, 2008

South Korea won the bronze at the Beijing Olympics women's handball on Saturday by defeating Hungary 33-28.

Among the top four, South Korea was the only one from Asia, breaking the dominance of European squads in the event. It was the silver medalist at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

"The bronze is of more significance than a gold as the average age of our players is 31.7. We are older than any other handball team in the Olympics. In addition our ladies only trained together for 45 days before the Games," South Korean coach Lim Young-chul said after the match.

But Lim was unsatisfied with today's performance, saying the victory was a result of persistence of South Korean women.

The coach burst into tears at the press conference after the success. He told reporters his father who wanted him to lead the handball team in Beijing passed away one week ago. According to South Korean custom, he should have stayed home with his family.

"I have devoted my whole life to handball. I hope the western journalists do not portray the sport as something for Europeans but one enjoyed by the whole world. I also wish more Asians can dedicate themselves to handball," Lim stressed.

Hungarian coach Janos Hajdu attributed the defeat to continuous penalty suspensions of Hungarian players in the last seven minutes. "The South Korean team is very strong. They deserve the bronze," said Hajdu.

The match was tied six times in the first half. Hungary gained an upper hand in the last seven minutes with more fierce attacks before the net, enjoying a lead of 15-13.

The European traditional powerhouse continued its rush to the medal after the interval, with the highlight on center back Krisztina Pigniczki's successful long-distance throw in the 53rd minute. Anita Gorbicz who scored three times in the first half also proved her potential by making the ball gently bounce into the net at the 45th minute, despite tight defense of South Korea.

With persistence and determination, South Korea staged a strong comeback in the second half, making the competition into a draw 12 times. When Hungarian attacks began to falter seven minutes before the buzzer, right back Hong Jeong-ho's shot broke the tie, sparking a wave of fast breaks from her teammates. The blitz secured South Korea's victory to the very end of the match.

Hungary has won silver at the 2000 Olympics and bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It was muscled out by world champion Russia 22-20 in the semifinal while South Korea failed to make final with Norway's controversial goal at the last moment.

Source: Xinhua

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6 Australia 13 14 16 43
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