By Ara Jo.
In a large athletic field at Masan Girls High School in Changwon, a bustling industrial city, about 350km southeast of Seoul, South Korea, a girl walks across to the main building for the first time without knowing what she is about to let herself get into. She is on her way to take the entrance exam. At least she thinks she is, nothing particularly exciting there. But, that day was the beginning of a long journey that led to her one day becoming a member of the Korean National Sepaktakraw team and the gym at school becoming her second home.
The girl was Yu Young-Sim, now 28. When she was 16 years old. “Like most other people, I had never heard of sepaktakraw until then,” she says, “But the coach took a look at me and said I had all the physical attributes to be good at it. And fortunately or unfortunately, he was a persuasive man. Before I knew it, I became a member of the high school sepaktakraw team. It was during the winter in 1999.”