The South Korea team pose for a group shot after the end of the Champions Challenge I final in Kuantan on Sunday. The Koreans beat Canada 4-0 to win the title. - NIK NAIZI HUSIN/ The Star
KUANTAN: World No. 7 South Korea clinched their first and last Champions Challenge I hockey title when they defeated Canada 4-0 in the final at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium.
The tournament, which started in 2001, has been scrapped by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
Sunday’s final was a big letdown with the Canadians failing to produce any fireworks against the unbeaten Koreans.
The Koreans opened their scoring in the 10th minute through their penalty corner specialist Jang Jong-hyun.
Kim Young-jin added the second from a field attempt in the 13th minute to give the Koreans a 2-0 lead at half-time.
The second half saw a stronger start by the Canadians and they even had a penalty corner just five minuets into the game. But it was poorly executed.
The Canadians had the better opportunities but a mistake in the 56th minute allowed the Koreans to gain a penalty stroke. Jong-hyun converted the stroke to seal the top scorer award with eight goals.
Kim Seong-kyu then added the fourth in the 69th minute.
The Koreans were overjoyed with the title after three failed attempts in 2003, 2005 and 2012.
They lost to Spain in the first attempt and to Argentina in the next two finals.
For the Canadians, it was also their best-ever finish. They were eighth in 2009 and sixth in 2012.
With the win, the Koreans have qualified for the Champions Trophy in 2016.
Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu said it was very important for them to play in the 2016 Champions Trophy.
“It is an Olympic year and getting to play in a top-notch tournament like the Champions Trophy is great.
“We came into this tournament with the target of winning it. And now we are looking forward to the World Cup in The Hague,” he said.