“Treasure Center” Park Ji-soo (25, Cheongju KB Stars) is the present and future of women’s basketball in South Korea. With her height (1.96 meters) and basketball acumen, Park earned her stripes early on in her high school career as she consistently scored in the top half of the class. The spotlight was always on Park. The pressure was as great as the attention, so he cried and cried and cried. But those tears became the driving force behind his growth. Park gritted her teeth whenever she hit a high wall. “When I first came to the national team, I cried a lot during training,” says Woori Bank coach Satoshiu Asan. But the next time I came to the national team, I definitely filled in the gaps. He is also very greedy to win. She has grown a lot.” And just like that, the tender-hearted girl became an on-court warrior. In July 2022, Park collapsed. She was excluded from team training and dropped from the national team due to panic disorder. It wasn’t just a matter of basketball, it was a matter of life. She left the court for a while.

Five months have passed. In December 2022, Park returned from his panic attack. He wasn’t in perfect shape – he had less muscle mass than before, and his movements were a bit slower. Still, he picked up the basketball again and worked harder than anyone else on the court. That’s because she loves basketball. In a past interview, Park said, “If I quit here, I’d be a mediocre player. I still have a lot of things I want to accomplish, so I want to do better and I think I should do better. I don’t know what it will be or when it will be, but I want to reach a much higher place than I am now.”

Park overcame her panic disorder to compete at the Asian Games. The South Korean women’s basketball team, coached by Chung Sun-min, will face Thailand (Nov. 27), North Korea (Nov. 29) and Chinese Taipei (Oct. 1) in the group stage. South Korea will be looking to return to the top of the podium for the first time in nine years since Incheon 2014. Park Ji-soo won a silver medal at the Jakarta-Palembang Games five years ago.

Some observers believe that teams that performed well at the Asian Cup, such as China and Japan, may take a break from the tournament. This is because they want to focus on bigger tournaments. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion. North Korea, which fielded a single team at the Jakarta-Palembang 토토 Games, is making its first appearance at an international tournament in five years. According to the tournament’s official information site, North Korea’s 12-player women’s basketball roster includes the 5-foot-5 Park Jin-ah. Park made headlines for her height at the inter-Korean unification basketball tournament in Pyongyang, North Korea, in July 2018.

Park has been preparing for the Asian Games by practicing with her teammates at the Jincheon Athletes’ Village in Chungcheongbuk-do. Park Ji-soo has come back from the brink. It’s time to soar once again.

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