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IKF U23 Asia Oceania Korfball Championship

Today – 15 June 2015 – IKF Asia and IKF Oceania publish the pools and match schedule for the 5th IKF U23 Asia Oceania Korfball Championship in Hsinchu City, Chinese Taipei.

The pools are:

Pool A Pool B
TPE Chinese Taipei AUS Australia
HKG Hongkong CHN China
IND India MAC Macau China
PHI Philippines INA Indonesia

The match schedule is available as well: Click here for the IKF U23 AOKC match schedule.

 

IKF AOKC shows positive steps for Asian korfball

Completed on 23 August in Hong Kong, the 2014 IKF AOKC demonstrated marked progress for Asian korfball.

With ten teams competing, two more than the equivalent tournament four years ago in Zhengzhou, China, the standard of play in Hong Kong reflected strong recent development made in Asian korfball under IKF Asia President Inglish Huang.

Although China dropped one ranking place, to Australia, it is a young team that looks capable of making an impression at the 2015 World Championship. Strong and athletic, with equally dangerous male and female players, epitomised by captain Liang Shuaishuai and Muzi Li, it showed the discipline to impose its will against all other teams, aside from the accomplished Chinese Taipei and steadfast Australia. Following the most common Asian model for korfball development, members of this Chinese team are drawn from three universities: Zhengzhou University, Tianjin University of Science and Technology and the Southwest University in Chongqing municipality.

Most significant mover at this AOKC was Malaysia. Having not played at this level previously, it achieved fifth ranking at this tournament, securing the reserve place for the 2015 World Championship. Malaysia’s korfball, built around national pioneer and president of the Malaysia Korfball Association Chee-Yong Jungle Lim, started in 2007. It has close links to Malaysia’s independent Chinese school system. Most players, including coach Lau Wai Fun, have made the transition from basketball to korfball effectively. They combine determination with shooting accuracy, particularly from ‘clutch’ player Randy Ho Kang Lip, whose blend of physical presence and an excellent eye for the korf made him a constant threat and earned him the honour of the tournament’s fourth highest scorer. After this, Malaysia will certainly improve on its 2013 IKF ranking of 35, having passed four countries that were ranked above it last year, and its future looks bright.

Lower down the rankings Korea matched the place it attained in 2010, though should be a big improver next time around as it looks most able to follow Chinese-Taipei’s successful formula for korfball excellence. Korfball’s establishment in the Seoul National University of Korea, which is one of the most prestigious in the country and has close links with Prof Huang’s own National Taipei University of Education, bodes well. Korea’s international korfballers are current students of the university and graduates who are now working as teachers. Through their efforts, korfball is set for inclusion in the country’s primary school curriculum. Although it competes with basketball and volleyball for the attention of young athletes, the Korea Korfball Federation, which was founded in 2006, has a viable pathway to cultivate a second generation, particularly with the close co-operation of Dr Huang and his university.

Macau’s korfball is also university-centred. In this instance the University of Macau, which has a brand new campus with some excellent facilities that look set to significantly boost the potential of korfball in China’s second Special Administrative Region.

Alone among IKF Asia members, Japan is currently the only country mainly relying on the club system for domestic development and education. In recent years Japan Korfball Association’s key leader Yoshimitsu Tobisa, known throughout korfball as Tobi, has established new clubs in Nagoya and Nagasaki. In November this year Japan’s inaugural national korfball championship will be held, with foremost Asian referee Ivan Lee of Hong Kong conducting a pre-tournament refereeing workshop.

Also welcomed back to an AOKC for the first time since 1994 was the nation with the longest korfball history outside The Netherlands and Belgium: Indonesia, where korfball was first played in the 1920s. This, however, is a new start with a young team, under Adelaida Koraag, who played in the team during its previous era. Although finishing last in Hong Kong, the gap between Indonesia and the next ranked teams was not great, and with recent problems the federation has suffered now apparently resolved, there is cause for optimism.

Apart from the eight teams that played in Hong Kong, alongside IKF Oceania’s Australia and New Zealand, IKF Asia has six other members: India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Singapore. Looking forward to 2018, when the next IKF AOKC will be staged, it is reasonable to expect that at least three of these will join the tournament. This is likely to include newcomers the Philippines, where solid foundations have been laid at the University of Santo Tomas, Asia’s oldest university, which dates back to 1611. Also probably ready to step up in four years will be Singapore, where korfball was dormant for several years until business consultant Derek Ang stumbled across the sport on Google, and was so intrigued that he decided to properly establish korfball in his country. Although it is still early days, he has made good progress with promotion into schools, including sending a number of coaches to a recent clinic in Malaysia. It seems likely that, with continued support from its neighbours, Singapore’s korfball community will grow and progress sufficient to send a team to the 2018 IKF AOKC. By that time korfballers from Vietnam and Sri Lanka might also be ready to join the party.

All of which strengthens the case for korfball’s recognition by the Olympic Council of Asia, which Prof Huang has been working on for a number of years. This recognition would enable entry by the sport into the Asian Games, and various other cyclical multi-sport events staged throughout the continent. A decision on this is expected before the end of 2014, and would mark another significant step for international korfball.

IKF AOKC 2014 final order of teams (with 2010 positions in brackets): 1 (1) Chinese Taipei, 2 (3) Australia, 3 (2) China, 4 (4) Hong Kong, 5 (-) Malaysia, 6 (6) New Zealand, 7 (7) Korea, 8 (-) Macau, 9 (-) Japan, 10 (-) Indonesia.

In 2010 India finished fifth and Pakistan finished eighth, neither participated in 2014, while Malaysia, Macau, Japan and Indonesia participated in 2014, though not in 2010.

IKF AOKC Day Two – six games start to sort out groups

On Day Two of the 2014 IKF AOKC, with a further six games completed, the two groups are beginning to sort themselves out.

Malaysia achieved a second comfortable win of the tournament in the day’s first game, taking advantage of Indonesia’s inexperience to ease to a 12-5 win. By beating first Macau and now Indonesia, Malaysia has given itself an excellent opportunity to justify its third seeding in group B, suggesting that, unless a freak result occurs in the next two days, it will still be in contention for a medal after all group games are completed. Indonesia, on the other hand, which has the lowest ranking of all teams here, will need to learn from the lessons of its first two games and look to make improvements for the future.

Game two saw another close fought, low scoring Group A contest, as Japan, which held a two goal lead for a period of the first half, succumbed to Korea’s dominance in the rebound to fall to a second loss, 9-7.

Game three, between the teams ranked two and three, produced the best korfball of the tournament so far, Australia prevailing over Group B rival China after a full-blooded tussle. China reined in the aggression they displayed yesterday, at least slightly, and held the lead for much of the first half, benefiting from some inattentive defence by Australia, which conceded seven penalties in the half, all scored. The Skippies found some rhythm in the final minutes of the half, though, which continued in the first few minutes of the second half, as they scored seven goals unanswered to take control. Craig Miller was particularly effective. A spectacular Ashlee Othen goal, converting a running in shot from an intercept, was decisive leaving China an insurmountable five goal deficit with ten minutes to play. Final score: 20-14.

When the top two seeds in Group A met in the following game, the outcome contrasted significantly to the Australia-China match. Making it first appearance at this tournament, defending IKF Asia Oceania korfball champion Chinese-Taipei accounted for host Hong Kong with effortless ease, displaying their dynamism, speed and shooting prowess. Superstar Ricky Wu scored six in the first half as his team demonstrated its superiority for an 18-5 half time lead. His show ceased soon after when he was one of a rash of substitutions made by the respective coaches. Scoring was more sedate after that, and although Hong Kong achieved parity with five second goals apeice, the result was a foregone conclusion: 23-10 to Chinese Taipei.

Superior shooting by Macau produced a win over Indonesia, playing its second match of the day, which nevertheless was its strongest performance of the tournament so far. Ka U Chao scoring seven for Macau.

In the final game, for the second day in succession, New Zealand again struggled to overcome a lower ranked opponent, though ultimately produced a more convincing performance to beat Korea, thanks in large part to Rosa Cooper. Introduced to the game just before half time, her shooting accuracy countered the Korean’s strong rebounding and her five second half goals proved the difference as New Zealand prevailed by 11-5. Like Malaysia, New Zealand has assured it will remain in medal contention beyond the group games.

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IKF AOKC Day One – games go according to rankings

Day One of the IKF AOKC ended in four wins for the higher ranked teams, though some of the nations in the earlier stages of their development showed they could spring a surprise before the end of the week.

New Zealand v Japan

In the first game of the tournament, Korea provided spirited opposition to the host team, at least initially. Going to half time 9-4 behind, Korea stayed within touching distance for most of the match, although inaccurate shooting let them down. In the last few minutes, after a number of substitutions, Hong Kong expanded its winning margin to a more comfortable 17-6.

Game Two, in Pool B, was dominated by China, which brought a robust style of korfball to the tournament that was too much for the gallant but inexperienced Indonesia team. China won with ease: 25-4, captain Liang Shuaishuai leading the way with six. A number of breaks in the game, for injuries and at one stage a bent korf, meant that, with real playing time the game over-ran the schedule by about 20 minutes.

Malaysia and Macau met in the third game, also in Pool B, with both continuing the level of physicality that China had exhibited in the previous game, playing with strong determination to win. Although Malaysia edged in front, Macau stayed in touch, benefiting from the recent joint training sessions that they had prior to the tournament with Australia. In the end, in the final quarter of the game, Malaysia pulled away to a 15-8 win, Wan Li Ker scoring five and Randy Ho Kang Lip scoring four.

In the final game, Japan gave New Zealand a much tougher battle than the IKF rankings would indicate, staying level until the final minute of the first half, when the Kiwis finally pulled ahead by two, and matching them again goal for goal in a low scoring second half for a final score of 11-9. Sho Furuki stood out for Japan, scoring five.

Bright future for korfball in Hong Kong, says Sport Minister at AOKC opening

“There is a bright future for korfball in Hong Kong”, Jonathan McKinley, Deputy Secretary of Home Affairs of the Government of the Hong Kong SAR – the equivalent of Sport Minister in other countries – said at the opening ceremony of the 9th IKF Asia-Oceania Korfball Championship. Kinley added that Hong Kong residents like new sports, and the mixed gender spirit of the game very much matches Hong Kong’s society.

Growth of korfball in the island territory has been remarkable, with the majority of universities playing korfball, a domestic korfball league and regular tournaments and championships in all age categories, both indoor, outdoor, and on the beach. With the hosting the AOKC this year, the Association aims to reach the general public to make a next step in korfball”s popularity.

McKinley addressed the participants of the Championship and welcomed them to Hong Kong as part of an opening ceremony in which also the IKF President took part, along with the Presidents of IKF Asia and IKF Oceania, and the IKF Secretary General. The guests were welcomed into the venue by traditional bag pipe music.

In the successive opening match of the tournament, the home team beat Korea by a clear margin.

 

Champion Chinese Taipei will be tough to beat at IKF AOKC

Asia-Oceania champion Chinese Taipei has arrived in Hong Kong with an experienced and well-prepared squad determined to defend its title at the IKF AOKC.

chinese taipei 2014

In camp at home for the past 11 days, the squad includes Ricky Wu, aptly nick-named the ‘Asian Sensation’ during his years in the Korfball League in the Netherlands. Along with nine of his colleagues in the present IKF AOKC 2014 squad, Ricky won a bronze medal at the 2013 World Games, or at the 2011 IKF World Championship, or both. Members of this ‘golden generation’ of Chinese Taipei korfball have been playing the sport for an average of around eight years.

Residents of Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan county and Nantou county, the final squad of 16 was named in July following a process that began in October last year when an initial selection of 22 players was named after two national tournaments in October.

Most of the Chinese Taipei national team players were originally recruited to school korfball teams when they were studying in primary or junior high schools. Most are now university students, although some are primary or high school teachers.

IKF AOKC 2014 an important step for Malaysian korfball

This year’s tournament in Hong Kong is the first time Malaysia will participate in the IKF AOKC, following its representation at the equivalent youth tournament in 2011 in Adelaide and the IKF Asian Korfball Championship last year.

Malaysia Korfball Team Group Photo

Like many other international korfballers, Malaysia’s national players have overcome financial challenges to represent their country. Korfball his not officially recognised by the Ministry of Sport and Youth and the Sport Council of Malaysia. Players are therefore left to raise their own funds, through savings, sponsorship and loans from family and friends.

Technically, Malaysia has benefited from the assistance of Chinese Taipei korfball maestro and President of IKF Asia Inglish Huang, who visited for a five-day training camp in June, adding to Malaysia’s eight month programme.

Ranging in age from 16 to 30 years old, Malaysia’s korfballers are based in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. All shifted to korfball from basketball, encouraged by their coaches and senior team mates Wai-Fun Lau Yuet-Ngor Chew and Wai-Sim Lau, who also have basketball backgrounds.

The 2014 IKF AOKC will be a springboard for the country’s development, as Malaysian Korfball Association president Jungle Lim Chee Yong explains:

“These players will be Malaysian korfball’s leaders, team managers, coaches, referees, trainers, promoters, supporters, sponsors and others in the future. They are going to help train young and talented children to become high performance korfballers.

“Our vision is to introduce, develop and promote korfball to Malaysia’s multi race society, including Malay, Indian, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan, Murud, Bajau, Mah Meri, Temuan and others.”

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