After fiasco, Park on national team

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After fiasco, Park on national team

Park Eun-seon, the Seoul Amazones striker who endured demands by WK-League coaches that she undergo a sex test, has been selected for the national team for the 2014 Asian Cup that starts May 14 in Vietnam.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) yesterday announced the team’s 23-woman roster for the event and Park was one of four forwards - along with Ji So-yun of Chelsea Ladies FC. This will be Park’s first time on the national team in four years. She has scored 11 goals in 20 A-matches.

Training begins on Tuesday.

To qualify for the Women’s World Cup that kicks off next year in Canada, Korea must place fifth or higher in the Asian Cup. Korea is in Group B with China, Thailand and Myanmar.

Analysts say this will be a big opportunity for the 27-year-old Park.

Her gender was first raised when a Chinese team said it would ask the event’s organizing committee to conduct a gender examination on Park if Korea brought her to the 2010 Asian Cup. Korea then dropped Park from the team.

In November, six of the seven coaches in the WK-League demanded that the league conduct a sex test on Park, who is 180 centimeters tall (5.9 feet) and weighs 74 kilograms (163 pounds).

“Neither the KFA nor the women’s football federation made a clean explanation about her,” the coaches said at the time. “Park is one of the best players in the league, but the KFA hasn’t included Park on the national team for some reason. We judge that there is a problem with Park playing in the league.”

The coaches, however, faced a barrage of criticism. Fans and analysts accused the coaches of trying to disqualify the league’s best striker to win more games. Park was the league’s leading scorer last season with 19 goals and led the Amazones to a second-place finish. Football analysts also note the coaches never complained about Park before last season. She has scored seven goals in six matches this year.

Park has been nicknamed “the Park Chu-young [a Watford FC striker] of the women’s league.” She was selected as a member of the women’s national football team at age 16 during the 2003 World Cup in the United States and was the leading scorer in the 2004 U-21 Football Championship. She also played for the national team in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2005 East Asian Cup.

The National Human Rights Commission studied the case and concluded that the coaches clearly and inappropriately harassed Park, and advised the KFA to punish them in accordance with league regulations.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]


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