• Kyodo


Former Chunichi Dragons closer Sun Dong-yol will manage the South Korean national baseball team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when the sport will return to the Olympic program, the Korea Baseball Organization said Monday.

South Korea beat Cuba to win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games — the last time baseball was played at the Olympics — but has since been lackluster, most recently being bumped out of the World Baseball Classic’s first-round pool held in South Korea in March.

“I will do my best,” the 54-year-old Sun said in a statement. The organization said this is the first time in South Korean baseball history to have a dedicated manager for the national squad.

The first competition Sun will be in charge of is the inaugural Asia Professional Baseball Championship, which will take place at Tokyo Dome in November with Japan and Taiwan also participating.

Sun told a press conference that he will bring together “the best team possible” for ensuing events, according to Yonhap News Agency.

“I’d like to emphasize the importance of pride in wearing the national flag on the chest,” he was quoted as saying. “The team’s ultimate goal is to win Olympic gold.”

Sun, who also played for the Haitai Tigers in his native South Korea, recorded 98 saves in four years with the Dragons in Japan starting with the 1996 season and contributed to the team’s Central League championship in 1999.

The right-hander retired at the end of that year and later managed the Samsung Lions and Kia Tigers, leading the former to two straight championships in 2005 and 2006, in Korea’s pro league.

He also served as a coach for the national team in competitions, including the WBC.

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