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Korea Hockey focuses on development of young athletes

August 26, 2020

The Korea Hockey Association is working with schools and universities to discover the next generation of national hockey stars.

With the aim of promoting hockey at the grass-roots level and to create a strong base of young, talented athletes, the Korea Hockey Association recently held a school and university level tournament. Young athletes were encouraged to take part in the tournament, with the aim of talent spotting and then training them as future national team players. The national governing body also viewed the tournament as a means of promoting the sport and expanding the pool of hockey players across the country. 

Presently the women’s national team is ranked 12th in the FIH World Rankings, while the men are ranked 16th. Neither side qualified for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: for the women, this is the first time they haven’t appeared at an Olympic Games since 1984. For the men’s team, this is the second consecutive Olympic Games where they haven’t qualified. Starting with initiatives like this tournament, the Korea Hockey Association hopes to address the slide in performance at the very highest level by nurturing hockey talent among the youth and grass roots level of the sport.

If the tournament, known as the 34th President Cup National Hockey Tournament, is anything to go by, there is plenty of enthusiasm and excitement surrounding hockey in Korea. More than 50 participating teams took part in the Middle School, High School and University categories. The tournament was held for seven days throughout August in Donghae city, Gangwon Province. 

The global pandemic continued to exert its impact, with this tournament being played behind closed doors to help restrict the spread of the virus. Access to the stadium was limited to athletes, leaders and officials.  

In order to prevent COVID-19, it was safely completed in compliance with hygiene regulations, such as checking temperature, using hand sanitisers and making it mandatory to wear masks and keep distance from the stadium.

The Korea Hockey Association plans to organise many youth and school level tournaments and activities in the future to develop future stars in Korea Hockey and to enable a smooth change from youth/junior level to senior national level athletes.

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