There is less than a month left until the opening of the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games. The Hangzhou Asian Games were originally scheduled to be held in 2022, but were postponed by a year due to COVID-19 and will be held this year. This is the Asian Games held five years after the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games. It starts on September 23rd and ends on October 8th.토토사이트
The biggest concern is whether Korean professional baseball can recover its honor at the Asian Games. Baseball is one of the ball sports that receives attention at the Asian Games. Baseball games in this tournament will be held from October 1 to 7. Korea is the country with the most baseball wins in the Asian Games. After baseball was adopted as an official event at the 1994 Hiroshima Games, it won gold medals in Bangkok in 1998, Busan in 2002, Guangzhou in 2010, Incheon in 2014, and Jakarta and Palembang in 2018. Korea has recently won gold medals in three consecutive competitions, and is considered a strong candidate to win this competition as well.
One of the reasons why Korean baseball showed a strong performance in the Asian Games was because of strong motivation. The Asian Games is an international tournament where baseball can receive special military service exemption. Baseball was virtually eliminated from the Olympics. For this reason, Korea often sent elite members to the Asian Games.
Other reasons to get good grades
However, there are many other reasons why Korea should perform well in this competition. Korea has often bowed its head at international competitions held in recent years. I had to painfully feel the reality of Korean baseball’s position on the world stage. At the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, he suffered the humiliation of no medal. The fans could not hide their shock and disappointment when the national team, which was trying to recreate the glory of Korean baseball, which won the championship with all wins at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, received a report card that did not even enter the medal range.
In March of this year, he participated in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), but faced the disastrous result of being eliminated in the first round. As a result, Korea experienced the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round of the WBC three times in a row. On the other hand, Japan, known as the ‘fated rival’, won the championship with Shohei Otani (LA Angels), who also doubles as a pitcher, leading the way. What is even more painful is the fact that after the WBC, controversy over the qualifications of national team players, including Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG), Jeong Cheol-won (Doosan), and Lee Yong-chan (NC), arose as a result of drinking scandals.
Korean baseball, which began self-diagnosis after its crushing loss at the Tokyo Olympics, has set an age limit at the Asian Games. Even though Korean baseball won the championship in the previous Jakarta-Palembang tournament, it was criticized as a ‘military service benefit team’. Among the national team players, LG Oh Ji-hwan was at the center of controversy, and coach Sun Dong-yeol, who led the Asian Games national team as the first full-time coach of the Korean national baseball team, voluntarily resigned in November of that year due to such criticism.
Additionally, with the recent crushing defeats in international competitions, voices calling for the growth of young players for the future of Korean baseball have grown louder. As a result, the team was limited to players under the age of 25 or with less than four years of professional experience, and the national team was made up of three wild cards under the age of 29.
Accordingly, ahead of this tournament, the Korean national team is being evaluated as falling short of its previous national team composition in terms of power. That’s why there are concerns about whether the Korean national baseball team, which has been evaluated as a ‘default value’ in winning the Asian Games gold medal, will be able to maintain its lead this time.
In addition, injuries to key players leading the team are increasing concerns. Lee Jeong-hoo, who received the 2022 regular season MVP, was not only out of the team due to ankle surgery, but was also unable to play in the Asian Games. Several candidates have been named to replace Lee Jeong-hoo, but it is questionable whether anyone will be able to completely fill Lee Jeong-hoo’s vacancy. Before getting injured, Lee Jeong-hoo played a key role in Kiwoom’s batting lineup, recording a batting average of 0.319, 6 home runs, and 45 RBIs in 85 games.
In addition, left-handed pitcher NC Koo Chang-mo was also diagnosed with left forearm muscle damage during a hospital examination in early June. A re-examination also showed a stress fracture in his left arm, so the timing of his return is uncertain. Even if you prepare your body for the Asian Games, it is questionable whether you will be able to fully regain your sense of competition. In the end, the fact that there are only three left-handed pitchers on the national team, including Koo Chang-mo, Lee Ui-ri, and Choi Ji-min (KIA), is a cause for concern. KT Kang Baek-ho also has not yet returned to the first team after being expunged from the first team entry the day after playing against LG on July 26 due to cold and psychological reasons.
Will the spread of anxiety factors calm the public’s concerns
? Moreover, the competitiveness of other countries such as Taiwan and Japan is strong this year. Japan is boasting good performance on the world stage as it won the WBC, and it is evaluated that it has skills comparable to professional baseball in professional baseball. It is reported that Taiwan will also send elite members consisting of players from its own professional league, professional baseball teams, and American professional baseball minor leagues to the Asian Games. Taiwan is in a similar situation to Korea because military service benefits are provided when winning.
Korean national team coach Ryu Joong-il must personally recreate the glory of the gold medal in this tournament. Coach Ryu Joong-il served as coach of the WBC national team in 2013, and led the national team as coach of the Incheon Asian Games in 2014. Although he experienced the bitterness of being eliminated in the first round at the WBC, he regained his honor by winning a gold medal for his team at the Incheon Games.
Coach Ryu said, “I think this Asian Games is a great first step in laying the foundation for achieving good results at the WBC in 2026,” and added, “How much better will young players be in three, five, and 10 years?” As a coach, I am very excited to see if he will grow as a player. “I will provide good guidance for a short period of time,” he said.
The Asian Games national team is scheduled to be convened in September, undergo domestic training, and then depart for Hangzhou, China. Attention is focused on whether the national team, which has various uncertainties, can calm the public’s concerns. Also, since the KBO league is not suspended during this period, it is inevitable that teams with young players will lose power. One of the things the baseball world is curious about is how the battle for KBO league rankings will proceed during the Asian Games.
In the meantime, performance in international competitions often influenced the success or failure of domestic leagues. Korean professional baseball suffered a slump in box office performance due to COVID-19, but is continuing its reputation as a popular sport again this year as social distancing measures are eased. Meanwhile, the Asian Games held are bound to be one of the major factors that can influence the maintenance of professional baseball’s popularity.