|HOME | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 29, 2000
My boys have a point to prove, says Korean coach
Jaideep Singh in Sydney
South Korea may or may not win the Olympic title but their entry into the Olympic final has changed Asian hockey equations forever, something the two Asian Games and Asia Cup triumphs could not do over the past 15 years.
"The world will now always take note of Korean men's hockey," says the Korean team's mastermind Kim Sang-Ryul, who has traveled a long way from the day he left for India to do a coaching course under former Indian coach and Olympian Balkishen Singh.
Korean women have regularly been in the forefront and were the finalists in the World Cup and Atlanta Olympics but the men were never taken as a threat until they displayed the clinical immersion of the Asian and European style of hockey.
"Its a potent mix," says Kim with his trademark toothy smile even as he shakes his head vigorously at suggestions that the credit for Korea's success rested solely on his shoulders.
The Korean men's rise at these Olympics has been at the expense of India and Pakistan. Korea edged out India in the pool standings to make the semifinals, where they beat Pakistan to become the first Asian team to make the final since 1984.
On the way the Koreans have unveiled to the world the grit and determination that turned Korea into an Asian hockey power within 15 years of making the first impression.
"People should know that we're no longer a side to be taken lightly," he said. "Holland are obviously the best team in the world but we are no pushovers. Come Saturday and my boys have a point to prove."
The Korean coach said his team has the potential to rise of the occasion, even if history favours Holland.
"I know my team's strength and diehard spirit which gives them the potential to win the title," Kim said.
Like Korea, defending champions Holland too has made the most of the kiss of life which revived it from the brink of elimination at the pool stage.
Korea is threatening to derail the Dutch hopes of becoming the first team after India to retain the Olympic title.
India won six consecutive titles between 1928 and ‘56 before Pakistan dislodged them from the pedestal in 1960.
Reflecting on criticism that he copies Dutch tactics and that makes Holland apprehensive of playing frequently against Korea, Kim says: "Yes, why not. They are the best team in the world. I'd like to learn things from the best teams."
The two subcontinental teams which he seems to have mastered of late would know the impact of these innocent, honest words.
The Dutch start as the odds on favorites based on their track record of 12 victories in 16 matches against Korea, who have won twice. Two remaining games were drawn.
Hendriks said Korea is a very good side and its strong point is their fighting quality.
"I'm glad to have played them thrice during our Olympic preparation which should come handy," he said.
"They are a dangerous side…dangerous for anyone who underestimates them."
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK