Gwangju Metropolitan City Corporation is the sole leader with 9 wins and 1 draw as of the 15th, having completed about half of the 2022-2023 SK Handball Korea League Women’s Division schedule. Since its establishment in May 2010, it has hovered in the lower ranks, finished runner-up last season, and continues to rise this season.
At the center of the undefeated march is captain Kang Kyung-min (27). He has 109 goals and 44 assists, leading both scoring and offensive points (scores + assists). It contributes to more than half of the total points scored by the team (281 points). Busan Facilities Corporation Alina (Belarus), who is second in scoring, scored 82 goals (8 assists), showing how fierce Kang Kyung-min’s goal storm is. Kang Kyung-min, whom I recently met at the SK Handball Stadium in Seoul, said, “I still can’t realize that there is no defeat. I will not settle here,” he said.
Folding handball and becoming a swimming instructor ‘full-time’
Kang Kyung-min said, “I started handball by fate.” When he was in the 4th grade of elementary school, there was an application for handball experience in the classroom, but he wrote his name without knowing what kind of sport it was. He said it was fun tossing the ball away from the goalkeeper. Kang Kyung-min, who quickly rose to prominence due to his quick feet, grew into an elite player after passing through the youth team. He joined Gwangju City Corporation with the second overall pick in the 2014 rookie draft, and the following year, he finished second in scoring and became the Rookie of the Year. 스포츠토토
However, from the second year, I had to suffer from the evil spirit of injury. In 2016 he injured his left ankle, and in 2017 he ruptured his right shoulder ligaments and underwent surgery. In November, before the start of the 2018 season, he virtually quit the sport. Looking back at the time, Kang Kyung-min said, “I lost interest in handball itself. The belief that he would be able to do it for so long was gone. As his injuries continued, his skills declined, so it was burdensome that he could not live up to the expectations around him.” After putting down the handball ball, he worked as a swimming instructor in Incheon for about five months. When he was young, he made use of his experience learning to swim. As he settled into his new job, his handball was completely out of his mind.
“A uniform suits you better than a swimsuit”
Perhaps it was fate that Kang Kyung-min returned to the court. In May 2019, Gwangju City Corporation appointed Oh Se-il, a former head coach of the men’s national team, and sought to escape from the bottom of the year. As soon as Director Oh received the notification of passing the interview, the first thing he called Kang Kyung-min. He wanted to bring back a student with excellent handball sense and scoring ability. The two built trust by working together as coaches and players in the 16-year-old national team and the youth national team.
Kang Kyung-min had no intention of catching the handball ball again. However, I changed my mind after persuading director Oh, “You look better in a uniform than a swimsuit.” After his comeback, he’s actually better than before. He was the top scorer for two consecutive seasons. In particular, in the 2020-2021 season, he exploded 206 goals, breaking the previous record for the most goals (185 goals, Jang So-hee in the 2013 season). It was natural for him to win MVP (Most Valuable Player) two times in a row (連覇). Team performance also improved. Last season, they went directly to the playoffs with second place in the regular league and finished runner-up in the championship match, achieving the best results since its establishment.
Now I’m aiming for my first win. Kang Kyung-min said, “I became greedy for winning the team more than his personal record. I hope many people will come to watch the thrilling handball game.”