South Korea make semis with a game to spare

Dubai: South Korea qualified for the semi-finals with a game in hand following an emphatic 75-31 win against the UAE at the 10th Fazza International Wheelchair Basketball Championships on Monday.

Lee Youn Joo, the South Korean skipper, predicted that the sport will continue to flourish back home in the near future. South Korea finished sixth at the 2014 IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Incheon and things started looking up for the sport. Three months later, South Korea claimed the gold medal defeating rivals Japan in the final at the Incheon Para-Asian Games.

The first step was the starting of a semi-professional league called the ‘Korean Wheelchair Basketball League’ that has begun showing results since the past three years now.

The league took off under the aegis of the Korea Wheelchair Basketball Federation (KWBF) and direct sanction from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The result was that several wheelchair basketballers have started playing in the league, giving the Koreans an added exposure of playing against some of the best from across the globe.

Spain, Germany and Turkey are among the nations who already have professional basketball leagues, and Lee can already see the league contributing to the growth of the national team. “We have a new sort of self-belief among us in the team, and much of this attitude has come in because we have been so involved with the league since the past three years,” Lee said.

Meanwhile in other matches, Morocco also remained unbeaten with a 67-46 win against last year’s runners-up Japan, while Thailand did just enough for a 73-42 win against South Africa and Turkey powered their way to a hard-fought 53-32 victory against Taiwan.

Tuesday is the final day of group matches with South Korea playing Turkey to decide who ends at the top of Group B, while Morocco will be up against Thailand to decide the Group A winner. The semi-finals will be played on Wednesday, followed by the third place play-off and final on Thursday. 

Results

Morocco 67 Japan 46

South Korea 75 UAE 31

Thailand 73 South Africa 42

Turkey 53 Taiwan 32