Romanian-Born Basketball Player Dreams Big in Korea

      January 12, 2013 08:17

      Sonia Kim

      Basketball player Sonia Kim, a.k.a. Sonia Ursu, has drawn interest among basketball fans due to her exotic appearance on the court. She joined Woori Bank's women's basketball team as its new shooting guard in October.

      Her mother Gabriela fell in love with her father, a Korean engineer, while she was vacationing and he was working at a shipyard in Romania.

      Kim was born in Suceava but her family moved to Korea shortly after she was born. She returned to Romania at the age of five and her mother, who was fluent in Korean, taught her the language and instilled in her a love of Korean cuisine.

      Due to the spread of the Korean Wave, she was often exposed to Korean dramas and K-Pop, leading her interest in her father's homeland to grow. Despite getting several offers from college basketball teams in the U.S., she decided to try her luck in Korea instead.

      Kim took up the sport in 2004 when she turned 11 and joined Romania's national team last year.

      "I'm happy to be here as I can learn a different style of basketball, because in Korea the focus is more on team play," she said. "In Romania it's more about players' individual skills."

      She said she also harbors dreams of becoming a fashion stylist one day. Given her good looks and statuesque height (178 cm), it is perhaps little wonder that she's already done some magazine modeling back in Romania.

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