The Korean women’s field hockey team are in Singapore for a training stint as they prepare for the upcoming Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.
With their country at the height of winter, the Koreans needed a place to train where conditions were similar to this year’s Olympic hosts. With its world class hockey facilities, Sengkang Hockey Stadium was their perfect place for them to train and acclimatise themselves to the heat and humidity of our equatorial counterpart.
Korea players prepare for a penalty corner. Photo: Sport Singapore
“The Koreans were a surprise. The initial plan was to have the three nations (Australia, Netherlands and Germany) here. And when they found out that these three nations are coming to Singapore, they arranged all this (the training camp) on their own accord.” said Paul Roger Lim, managing director of The Project Group and the organiser of the TPG International Tri-Series 2016.
Run over the course of 30 days, the Koreans trained and played friendly games against the Singapore men’s team as well as Australia women’s team. They lost the first game to the men’s team but regrouped to win the second game.
They then met Australia, ranked number three in the world, for a friendly match. Both teams started well with the Australians using their better fitness and physical build to dominate the Koreans. Although out-muscled by the Hockeyroos, the Korean team were always threatening on the break and their wing play was particularly impressive.
Australia and Korea players in action. Photo: Sport Singapore
Although they lost the to Australian by a score of 2-3, Assistant Coach Kang Keon Wook said, “I think our team players are okay, they played very well. But we need to improve our team’s build up play. We need to work on that”
Team captain Han Hye-Lyoung also echoed similar sentiments, “We have to (do more) physical training and (work on our) teamwork.”
It was her first time in Singapore, and the warm climate took some getting used to for her. "It’s my first time in Singapore, (its) too hot but nice," the 30-year-old said.
Currently ranked ninth in the world, Han and her team are working hard to surpass expectations and claim a medal in Rio. “I hope we can get into the semi-final and hopefully win the bronze medal,” she said with a smile.