Will they be able to overcome the strong sea breeze and unfamiliar environment of Okinawa? Korean soft tennis (tennis), which competes for the best in the world, is going to conquer the Japanese archipelago.
NH Nonghyup Bank, a prestigious women’s business, and Kangho Daejeon University, a male college student, will represent Korea at the ‘2023 International Soft Tennis Championships’ held in Okinawa, Japan from the 10th. It is a tournament in which about 250 players from 9 countries including Korea, Japan, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, and Cambodia, as well as Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, which are powerhouses of soft tennis, participate.
Originally, the event was scheduled to start in 2020. However, it was postponed due to Corona 19, and the invitational competition was held in three years. Okinawa Prefecture actively promoted hosting the tournament, and the International Soft Tennis Federation expressed its intention to continue the event as an international tournament held every two years.
In particular, the federation plans to give the men’s and women’s singles and doubles winners the right to participate in the World Championships to be held in Anseong, Gyeonggi-do next year. In addition, the ranking point system applied from this year, following the example of tennis, will be recognized from this tournament. It is an important tournament as it requires a high ranking in order to be seeded in major competitions such as the Asian Games and World Championships in the future.
At the opening ceremony on the 9th, Korea Soft Tennis Association President Jeong In-sun prayed, “I hope that the tournament will be held successfully as it was a tournament that was held with difficulty due to Corona 19.” He then emphasized, “By referring to this event, the World Championships to be held in Anseong next year will be held as the largest competition involving 30 countries.”
This tournament is desirable for the development of international soft tennis, but it is not very welcome for domestic players. This is why it affects the selection of the national team starting on the 26th. Domestic players have been training on a hard court in preparation for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, but this Okinawa Championship will be held on an artificial turf court.
Director Yoo Yeong-dong of NH Nonghyup Bank said, “The sense of the game is adjusted to hard, but it is not easy to adapt to artificial turf in a short time.” Coach Han Jae-won also expressed concern, saying, “It is a bad condition to play the national team selection game on a hard court within two weeks of playing on artificial turf.” Since the trajectory and speed of the ball, which is lighter and softer than tennis, is different, it inevitably takes time to match the speed.
In fact, it is also the reason why Daejeon University came forward as a Korean men’s team. Daejeon University coach Hong-Seok Cho said, “As the domestic men’s unemployment team refused to participate in this tournament to focus on the national team selection, our players had an opportunity.” I will consider it an opportunity and take on the challenge.”
Nonetheless, NH Nonghyup Bank, a strong women’s business team, entered the tournament because of the organizer’s earnest request. The competition side placed Moon Hye-kyung, the signboard of NH Nonghyup Bank, in the center of the six male and female players on the cover of the pamphlet for this competition.
Of course, Hyekyung Moon is a top female athlete in the world, but the organizers of the tournament used her as the top cover model, not a player from their own country. Director Yoo explained, “I treated her with such respect, but she had no choice but to participate by throwing a message saying she shouldn’t come.” Coach Yu is also in charge of the Hangzhou Asian Games women’s national team command tower. 먹튀검증
The players are determined to do their best, but it is not easy to overcome the local bad conditions. After the opening ceremony, Moon Hye-gyeong, who competed in both singles and doubles, said, “It’s a burden to come out as the main cover model in the middle,” and she said, “Actually, it’s completely different from the court I trained on, so it’s not easy to adapt, but first of all, one win is my goal.” Lee Min-seon also said, “It was difficult to play because the wind blew a lot during training today.”
The Young Guns of Daejeon University are also determined to push ahead with their spirit. Oh Seung-eon, who is going to the third year, said, “Actually, I came out with the goal of winning, but when I trained together today, the Japanese players were too strong.” Even so, he said, “I want to go up as much as possible and go to the round of 32.”
This tournament will be held on the 10th from the men’s round of 115 and the women’s round of 80. On the 11th, the men’s and women’s singles winners will be revealed, and while the doubles qualifiers are held, the men’s and women’s winning duos will be announced in the doubles tournament on the 12th. It remains to be seen what kind of record will be accepted in the tournament held by Korea’s biggest rival, Japan, which is the origin of soft tennis.