South Korea women beat Japan in controversial Asian handball qualifier

Updated: January 29, 2008, 8:44 AM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- South Korea defeated Japan 34-21 Tuesday in a replay of a qualifying match for the women's handball tournament at the Beijing Olympics.

They were the only two nations replaying Asian qualifiers initially held in September last year, when referees from Jordan and Iran were brought in at the last minute by the Asian Handball Federation to replace German referees.

Their disputed calls helped Kuwait win the men's tournament and Kazakhstan the women's, qualifying them for August's Olympics in Beijing.

In December, the International Handball Federation ordered replays of the qualifiers. Japan can still qualify for the Olympics through a final round of Asian qualifiers.

The AHF, headed by Kuwaiti prince Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, has denied match-fixing and has said it will punish countries taking part in the replays.

Japan's men's team will take on South Korea on Wednesday.

The IHF, in a recent letter to the Asian federation, declared it is the "only body endorsing the results of the continental qualifying tournaments for Olympic Games and World Championships."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press