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Korea climbs to 21 in world ice hockey rankings

Korea has climbed two spots in the men’s hockey world rankings, weeks after earning a promotion to the top-tier world championship.

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on Monday unveiled the latest world rankings, and Korea reached No. 21, its all-time high.

Korea was ranked 33rd in April 2010. It had stayed at No. 23 since 2014 before taking another step forward less than a year before its Olympic debut on home ice at PyeongChang 2018.

Korea finished second at the IIHF World Championship Division I Group A in April in Ukraine and earned a promotion to the top-notch IIHF World Championship for next year.

Coached by former National Hockey League defenseman Jim Paek, Korea will face Canada (No. 1), the Czech Republic (No. 6) and Switzerland (No. 7) in the group phase of the Olympic tournament next February.

Korea will then make its IIHF World Championship debut three months later in Denmark.

Kazakhstan remained the top Asian nation at No. 17, down from No. 16 in the previous rankings. Japan traded spots with Korea, slipping from 21st to 23rd.

The IIHF rankings are determined on the final positions in the last four IIHF championships and in the most recent Olympics.


Jang Ha-na to come back full time this summer

Four-time LPGA Tour winner Jang Ha-na will return to the Korean competition full time this summer, her agency announced Monday.

Seoul-based Sportizen said Jang will rescind her LPGA Tour membership and will begin competing instead on the Korea LPGA Tour (KLPGA) starting in June.

Sportizen said Jang will hold a press conference in Seoul today to explain her decision in detail.

Jang earned her LPGA status through the Q-School in 2014, and posted three runner-up finishes in her rookie season in 2015.

Jang then collected three wins last year en route to finishing eighth on the money list.

In 2017, Jang won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February, her first appearance of the season.

Jang, famous for her flamboyant victory celebrations, was No. 10 in the most recent world rankings announced Monday, and one of six Korean players in the top 10.

Jang began the year at No. 7.

The 25-year-old won eight times on the KLPGA Tour from 2012 to 2015, and was the top money winner here in 2013.


KBO to investigate brawl during Lions-Eagles game

The nation’s top baseball league said Monday it will review a bench-clearing brawl that led to the ejection of four players over the weekend.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said it will convene a disciplinary committee meeting today to discuss punishment for players involved in Sunday’s incident between the Samsung Lions and the Hanwha Eagles at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon.

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