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Korean Series-winning skipper Ryu Joong-il named nat'l team manager for Asian Games

Korea manager Ryu Joong-il (Yonhap)
Korea manager Ryu Joong-il (Yonhap)

Four-time Korean Series champion manager Ryu Joong-il was named the new skipper for the national baseball team at this year's Asian Games on Wednesday.

The Korea Baseball Softball Association (KBSA) said Ryu, 59, will lead the squad at the Sept. 10-25 Asian Games taking place in Hangzhou, China. His appointment will be finalized at a KBSA board meeting sometime in March.

Ryu managed the Samsung Lions to four consecutive Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) titles from 2011 to 2014. His last KBO managerial job was with the LG Twins from 2018 to 2020.

The former star shortstop is no stranger to international baseball. He served on the national team coaching staff at the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2006 and 2009, before taking over as manager for the third WBC in 2013. He was also the national team manager at the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea's Incheon, where the host country grabbed its second consecutive gold medal.

South Korea also won the Asian Games gold in 2018 in Jakarta, but the national team came under fire for lacking transparency in the player selection process, ultimately leading to the resignation of manager Sun Dong-yol.

South Korea had a new manager at the helm, Kim Kyung-moon, for the Tokyo Summer Olympics last year. The team underachieved to a fourth-place finish in a six-nation tournament and faced much the same criticism from 2018 regarding roster construction.

For this year's Asian Games, South Korean baseball leaders decided to assemble the national team with only under-23 players from the KBO and collegiate ranks.

The KBO will also not schedule a midseason break during the Asian Games, as it had for previous Olympics and Asian Games. Each of the 10 clubs will be required to release up to three players for the tournament.

Baseball in Hangzhou will go from Sept. 18 to 24 and will involve the top six-ranked Asian teams and the top two qualifiers from the preliminary round.

Those eight teams will be divided into two groups of four. The top two from each group will then advance to the Super Round.

The two best teams after the Super Round games will meet for the gold medal, while the two remaining teams will end up in the bronze medal game. (Yonhap)

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