Dokdo hosts basketball tourney as its first sports event


DOKDO, South Korea, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) — The Korea Basketball Association (KBA) on Wednesday hosted the first sports event on the country’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, with four high school teams playing three-on-three games.

Players and KBA officials left nearby Ulleung Island on the East Sea around 8 a.m. Wednesday and arrived at Dokdo in about two hours in rainy and windy conditions. Kang Bong-goo, a police lieutenant and a guard on the islets, said the basketball event was the first live sports action on Dokdo.

“We tried to host a triathlon event between Ulleung Island and Dokdo, but had to cancel it due to inclement weather,” Kang said. He added that weather conditions are so fickle in waters near Dokdo that ships can only reach the islets 50 to 70 days a year. The KBA, which brought a portable basketball net and a half-court, had planned a similar event three years ago but had to cancel it because of weather conditions. KBA President Lee Jong-kul said he will try to make the tournament a regular occasion. “I’ve been to Dokdo a few times, and I felt basketball would be the only sport that could be played here,” Lee said. “I hope this event gives us the opportunity to think about Dokdo again.” The basketball event came at a time of heightened tensions between South Korea and Japan.

Tokyo renewed its territorial claims to Dokdo in its annual defense paper released earlier this month. It was published a little after four conservative Japanese lawmakers were denied entry to Korea on their attempt to visit Ulleung Island. Seoul considers Tokyo’s claims nonsense, since South Korea reclaimed sovereignty over Dokdo and other islands around the Korean Peninsula when it regained independence from Japan’s 36-year colonial rule in 1945. Lee said the words “Dokdo is our territory” were written on all game balls. “If these balls fall into the sea and reach Japan, then they will have something to think about,” he said. Only one ball went into the waters during the tournament. Afterward, Lee and players threw five more balls toward the sea.

Date : 2011/08/24


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