Kazakh women knock off South Korea for Asian Championship

Host nation, Kazakhstan beat defending champion South Korea, 33-32 to win the Asian Women’s Championship. China beat Japan, 26-25 for 3rd place. All four nations have qualified for the 2013 World Championships as Asia had 4 spots to award.
The championship game featured two South Korean coaches and former teammates facing off against each other. Kazakhstan’s coach is Yoon Tae-il a former goalkeeper for the National Team and South Korea’s coach, Kang Jae-won, is a former right back. Both Yoon and Kang played on South Korea’s 1988 Olympic silver medal men’s team. Yoon has been with Kazakhstan since 2005 while was appointed a month ago after came South Korea, long the dominant force in Asian Handball, failed to win the competition at the Asian Games in China.

The outcome of this tournament in Kazakhstan is a far cry from the notorious Olympic Qualification tournament in 2007. Following this tournament and later the Men’s qualification tournament the outcry in the Korean press led to world-wide condemnation of the unfair officiating at both events and the eventual replay of the Olympic Qualification tournaments. Based on the reports below it appears that the Kazakhs won the tournament fair and square. And more interestingly, it also appears that the South Korean domination of Asian women’s handball is either over on hiatus.

Yonhap News (24 Dec 10): Two S. Korean head coaches meet in final of Asian Women’s Handball Championship:
Yonhap News (26 Dec 10): Korea finishes 2nd at handball tourney
2011 Women’s World Championship Qualification:

Group A Standings
1) Kazakhstan (3-0-0) 6pts +29
2) China (2-0-1) 4pts +32
3) North Korea (1-0-2 2pts +15
4) Iran (0-0-3) 0pts -76

Group B Standings
1) South Korea (2-1-0) 5pts +71
2) Japan (2-1-0) 5pts +56
3) Uzbekistan (1-0-2) 2pts -73
4) Thailand (0-0-3) 0pts -54

Kazakhstan – Japan 29-24 (16-13)
South Korea – China 31-26 (13-14

Kazakhstan – South Korea 33-32 (15-14)
Japan – China (25-26) (16-15)

Final Ranking
1) Kazakstan
2) South Korea
3) China
4) Japan
5) 5th-8th placing currently unavailable