Park Ji-hyun (Woori Bank), who received attention as a promising player who will lead the future of Korean women’s basketball, joined the national team as the only high school player five years ago and participated in the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. She has now grown into a key member of the national team and will be aiming for another medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou later this month. Park Ji-hyun said, “Compared to before, my position and role seem to have changed,” and she expressed her determination to “challenge the goal of winning a medal with more responsibility.”
Park Ji-hyun scored an average of 23 points (1st place) in the women’s basketball Park Shin-ja Cup tournament, which ended at Cheongju Gymnasium on the 3rd. In this competition, in which overseas teams such as Japan and the Philippines participated, she showed off her peak skills and led her team to second place. After that, she returned to the Jincheon Athletes’ Village and joined the Asian Games national team convocation training that resumed on the 4th.
Park Ji-hyun, who I met before joining the national team, said in an interview with Kookmin Ilbo, “I think it’s time for the national team to prove itself with results rather than with good performances. “For the remaining time, we will work together with other national team players to prepare for the competition,” he said. The women’s national team finished fifth in the Asia Cup last June and failed to qualify for next year’s Paris Olympics. They are using the upcoming Asian Games as a stage to restore their honor.
Park Ji-hyun, who is in her fifth year since her professional debut, has continued to grow explosively based on her outstanding scoring ability. Last season, he played a leading role in winning the women’s professional basketball (WKBL) championship for his team, Woori Bank. She has recently been mentioned as the national team’s next-generation ace.
About the Asian Games five years ago, he said, “It was a competition where I learned and experienced while watching my sisters on the national team play. “I think they selected me because of my growth potential rather than because of my contribution to the team,” he reflected. He continued, “I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. “Now, as an experienced player, I have to do my part,” he emphasized.
Korean women’s basketball reached the top at the 2014 Incheon Games held at home. In the 2018 competition in which Park Ji-hyun participated, a unified North and South Korean team won a silver medal. At that time, three North Korean players, including Noh Sook-young, Jang Mi-kyung, and Kim Hye-yeon, joined the unified team. This time we have to face North Korea. South Korea, placed in Group C of the Hangzhou Asian Games women’s basketball, will face North Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand in the group stage.
Park Ji-hyun said, “I became close to North Korean players in a short period of time in the unified team. “It’s amazing to think that we’re meeting after such a long time,” he said. “Since we haven’t been able to contact each other for a long time, I wonder, ‘Are those players still there?’” He said, “When we were on the same team, we worked together, but now we meet as opponents. “We have to win on the court, so I think we have to compete,” he said emphatically.
In the women’s basketball at the Hangzhou Asian Games, where 12 teams in 3 groups compete, China (Group A) and Japan (Group B) are considered medal contenders. Park Ji-hyun said, “We must strive to play to the strengths of each player. “At least in the Asian Games, we have to maintain a high ranking, and that is up to the players,” he said, and pledged, “I will definitely show you how to win a medal.”