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Women’s team heads off to World Grand Prix

The Korean national women’s volleyball team left to Bulgaria to compete at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix on Tuesday.

Rather than the Championship division, for the first time in three years, the team got assigned in Group 2.

That said, Korea set a goal to win the event to bring up their world ranking for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The FIVB has made new regulations regarding countries’ qualification to the Olympics, which will depend mostly on the world ranking.

Though Korea is currently ranked 10th in the world, if they play poorly at the Grand Prix and the Asian Championship, there is a possibility of their ranking dropping.

The team, led by Hong Sung-jin, is only bringing 12 players to the Grand Prix qualification round, as they’ve lost three players - Kang So-hui, Bae Yoo-na and Lee So-young - due to injuries.

“Losing some of the players has put us in a tough position,” Hong said. “But if they work together as a team, we’ll be able to see some good results.”

The Korean national team will start the tournament with the match against Germany on Friday.

By Kang Yoo-rim


Gwangju FC signs league’s first Northern Irish player

The Korean football club Gwangju FC said Tuesday they’ve signed the league’s first Northern Irish player.

The K-League Classic outfit acquired forward Niall McGinn. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 29-year-old started his career with the native side Dungannon Swifts in 2005 and went on to play for Derry City, Celtic, Brentford and Aberdeen.

At Celtic, where he performed from 2009 to 2012, McGinn played with Korean players Ki Sung-yueng and Cha Du-ri.

McGinn made his international debut for Northern Ireland in 2008 and has scored three goals in 50 matches.

He played at the 2016 Euro Championship and scored a goal in North Ireland’s 2?0 win over Ukraine.

Gwangju said McGinn is a forward who possesses speed, power and delicate touch around the net, and their general manager Ki Young-ok, who is also the father of Ki Sung-yueng, flew to Northern Ireland to sign the footballer.

McGinn could reunite with his former Celtic teammate Ki Sung-yueng on Sunday as the Korean midfielder is scheduled to visit Gwangju World Cup Stadium to watch the match between Gwangju and FC Seoul.

Gwangju are currently the bottom dwellers in the 12-team K-League Classic.


Olympic organizers open environmental website

The organizers of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games said Monday they have opened a website that provides environmental information, such as air and water quality, on competition venues.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (Pocog) said its sustainability website will display on-site environmental data for the first time in the games history.

The Pocog said people can find live charts on air quality and water quality for the competition venues, along with information on the greenhouse gas emissions.

A dozen venues in PyeongChang, located some 180 kilometers (111 miles) east of Seoul, and its sub-host cities of Gangneung and Jeongseon in Gangwon Province will stage seven sports across 15 disciplines for the Winter Olympics next year.

The 12 venues - seven for sports on snow and five for events on ice - are all located within 30 minutes of each other.

The organizers said the launch of the website is part of their efforts to make environmentally friendly events and boost the sustainability of the games.

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