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Date: 8/25/2014

The “Korean handball summer fairy tale” has reached another height: Seven weeks after the U20 team became Women’s Junior World Champions for the first time ever, the U18 girls were on the winners’ podium of the Youth Olympic Games – with two players, who were part of both titles: double gold medallists Youjin Hur and Soyeong Yu.

And like in Croatia (37:34), the Asian champions beat Russia in the final to become Youth Olympic Games champions in Nanjing also for the first time ever – this time by a highly close 32:31 victory. The unlucky European runners-ups have not only lost their second straight final against Korea this summer, but also lost their second consecutive YOG final after the 26:28 four years ago in Singapore against Denmark. 

Including the Olympic Games it was the third gold medal for a Korean team, after the women had won the titles at the 1998 Games in Seoul and the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

And by winning the 2014 YOG final the Koreans took revenge for the 31:36 against the Russians in the preliminary round.


Girls’ final:

Korea – Russia 32:31 (17:14)

The dream of the Koreans had come true – and the Russians had relived their 2010 nightmare. Like four years ago they were in lead five minutes before the end, and like against Denmark they finally lost. A late Korean triple strike had ended the Russian hopes and dreams.

The Korean girls had a “flying start” and needed only four minutes to be ahead by 4:1 – typical for the match, which was imprinted much more by both attacking sides than the defending performances.

Both sides played with full speed, but thanks to their higher efficiency the Asians were nearly constantly ahead before the break. But when Yulia Golikova and Yulia Markova (both Russian top scorers by seven goals each) started their engines, Russia bridged the gap for the first time at 10:10 and even took the lead once at 13:12. But in the final minutes of the first half, Russia missed four straight chances, while Korea were as cold as ice to change the sides with a three goal gap (17:14) after the completion of a 5:1 series.

The Koreans had the upper hand until the 21:17, mainly thanks to the in total twelve goals of Kyungmin Kang, top scorer of the match. But Russia returned as they used to play before: With speed, with power and with determination – and with a 5:0 series to turn the match around at 22:21 in minute 43.

But despite having their best period, they could not manage to cast off the Koreans, the biggest advance was a two goal margin at 26:24. The match was on the edge, absolutely worth a Youth Olympic Games’ final. Nothing was decided until minute 56, then Russia missed three chances and the Koreans decided the match by a triple strike of Kang, Yu and Kim – Zakharova’s goal for the final result of 32:31 came to late for the Russians.