Women back on track

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Women back on track

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Lee Kyung-eun of KDB

The national women’s basketball team is back on track to resume its training camp in preparation for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. The KDB Life Insurance basketball squad, which had refused to allow three of its players to join the national team, relented and decided to allow Lee Kyung-eun, Sin Jung-ja and Kim Bo-mi to join the national team training camp after a Women’s Korean Basketball League meeting yesterday.

Although it is still unclear whether the injured Kim Ji-yoon of Shinsegae will report to the national team, with the KDB trio cleared to join the national team, the chances of the national team training camp resuming looks highly likely at this point.

The trouble stems from national team head coach Im Dal-sik and his coaching staff, who decided to select three players from the KDB and Kookmin Bank squads while deciding on just one or two players from the other four teams for the 12-member national squad. While other teams complied with the request to have their players available for training camp in Busan starting on Oct. 27, KDB had held out until yesterday.

“Kookmin Bank is probably in a similar situation,” said Kim Kyung-cheol, director of the KDB squad, in an interview with Ilgan Sports yesterday. “The top two teams in the league were required to give up two players each while third- and fourth-place teams were required to give up three players each. We requested a clear reason for such decisions from the WKBL and the Korea Basketball Association.

“Among the three players was Kim Bo-mi, who has been struggling this season with 1.8 points per game. If they had selected Han Chae-jin, who has been playing well of late, that would’ve made more sense and we would have made three players available.”

With the trio of players from the KDB squad missing from camp and Kim Ji-yoon of Shinsegae, Park Jung-eun of Samsung Life Insurance and Ha Eun-joo of Shinhan Bank sidelined with injuries, the national team’s training camp had been reduced to six players. Im finally had decided to call off the camp in frustration on Sunday, thinking it would be more productive to have the players practice with their respective teams.

“Players were to report for training camp last week but some did not show,” said Im yesterday. “It’s an unthinkable situation. Kookmin Bank, which was also asked for three of its players, complied.

“My team [Shinhan Bank] would’ve have had to give up four players if not for injuries to Jung Sun-min and Choi Yoon-ah. Including myself, the total would’ve reached five. Chun Joo-weon of Shinhan and Lee Jong-ae of Samsung were considered but they are aging veterans.”

It has been equally tough on KBA officials to levy any punishment or fines regarding the issue.

“There weren’t many cases like this in the past,” said Kim Sang-woong, director of KBA. “We had no idea things would turn out this way. The players themselves can’t be held responsible and the KBA is not authorized to fine the team in question in this case.”

Im and his coaching staff held a meeting yesterday on the upcoming schedule of the women’s national team. Women’s basketball games at the 2010 Asian Games start on Nov. 18.


By Lee Jung-chan, Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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