Korean Baseball Team Goes to Olympics Under a Cloud

  • By Jung Byung-sun

    July 19, 2021 13:45

    The Korean Olympic baseball team held a second day of training at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sunday, after the rest of the season was canceled over a lockdown violation.

    The team led by coach Kim Kyung-moon will hold its first preliminary game against Israel on July 29 at Yokohama Stadium.

    The tournament in Tokyo will be played in a complex double-elimination format.

    Korean Olympic baseball players and coach Kim Kyung-moon gather for training in Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on Sunday. /Yonhap

    Amid an outcry over players violating lockdown, NC Dinos infielder Park Min-woo apologized for holding a drinking party with three teammates and two women in a hotel in Gangnam and decided to take himself off the Olympic team.

    Three players except Park and the two women later tested positive for COVID-19. Park tested negative because he was fully vaccinated for his trip to Tokyo. In fact it was later revealed that the two women had also earlier partied with Hanwha Eagles and Kiwoom Heroes players in the same hotel.

    Heroes pitcher Han Hyun-hee also apologized and resigned from the Olympics team, and coach Kim replaced him with Samsung Lions closing pitcher Oh Seung-hwan. Oh played a pivotal role in the Korean squad winning gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

    Meanwhile, the Korea Baseball Organization punished Dinos players Park Sok-min, Kwon Hee-dong, Lee Myung-ki and Park Min-woo by banning them from 72 games and fining them W10 million each (US$1=W1,143). The Dinos were also fined W100 million for failing to supervise the players properly.

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