The head coach of South Korea’s women’s basketball team, Lee Moon-kyu. © Yonhap

Sports News

Inter-Korean basketball friendlies will decide Asian Games team

Date : 03 Jul 2018

Seongnam, Korea, July 3, 2018: For South Korea’s women's national basketball head coach Lee Moon-kyu, the inter-Korean friendly games in Pyongyang this week won't be just another series of exhibition matches, reports Yonhap News. They will give Lee an opportunity to scout North Korean players before the two teams join forces for the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia next month.

Lee led his team to the North Korean capital on Tuesday for friendly games over the next two days. The Koreas agreed on the basketball exchange during talks on June 18, and these games will now carry extra significance after the South and the North agreed to form a joint team in women's basketball at the August 18-September 2 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.

Speaking to reporters before his departure, Lee said he felt "two to three North Korean players" may be good enough to make the unified Korean team.

"They may not be talented, but they have potential," Lee said at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul. "They're working even harder than our players. I think we'll do well if the players join forces."

South Korea is the defending Asian Games champion in women's basketball, having defeated the three-time defending champion China 70-64 in the gold medal match on home soil in Incheon in 2014. It was South Korea's first Asian Games title since 1994.

Lim Yung-hui, South Korea’s captain, said she was "honoured" to have the rare opportunity to play basketball in North Korea.

"I'll try to talk to North Korean players as much as I can and try to get everyone on the same page," Lim added.

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