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This Year in Sports Updated: 2020-12-28 17:04:25 KST

Sports now and with it being the last Monday of 2020, it's time to take a look back at the year that was with our sports editor Paul Neat joining us in the studio.
Paul, it has been an eventful year but began with some success for the Korean national football team?

Yes, it did.
Way back in January, South Korea won the AFC U23 Championships in Thailand, beating Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the final. Giant defender Jeong Tae-wook grabbed the game’s only goal in extra time.

Starting as he meant to go on it seems, it turned out to be quite the year for Son Heung-min. In February he became the first Asian player to score 50 goals in the Premier League.
The Tottenham Hotspur forward scored two goals to earn a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on February 16th to make it 51 goals in 151 Premier League matches.

Domestically, we were gearing up for the new K League football and KBO baseball seasons in March but then the COVID-19 situation worsened here in South Korea?

Yes, it did. To the point where the K League and KBO seasons were postponed.
K League was due to kick off on February 29th but due to rapid spread of the virus, the league was postponed indefinitely.
It was a similar story in baseball, with the start date pushed back to April.
The pandemic brought leagues across the world to a halt too - including the Premier League.
It also led to the postponement of the Olympics and the UEFA European Championships for a year.

In May, however, K League and KBO finally got underway and did so in front of international audiences.
Overseas TV deals meant that millions around the world tuned into the K League opener on May 8th between Jeonbuk and Suwon Bluewings.
The KBO, meanwhile, reached new fans by being aired in North America.
K League and KBO were among some of the first professional sports leagues in the world to restart amid the pandemic.

It was also a productive year for South Korean players in MLB?
Yes, indeed. Starting with Ryu Hyun-jin - in June he picked up his first wins after joining Toronto Blue Jays following victories over the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles.
Fellow South Korean Kim Kwang-hyun pitched six scoreless innings for his new team, St Louis Cardinals in what was his debut season in MLB.

Three South Koreans made it into the MLB postseason including Ryu Hyun-jin, Kim Kwang-hyun.
But it was Choi Ji-man who went on to become the first South Korean batter to play in the World Series. And only the fourth in history.
The Tampa Bay Rays missed out, losing to LA Dodgers.

Heading into the fall, football fans began to say farewell to a Korean legend?

Yes, Lee Dong-gook announced his retirement from football.
He ended a trophy-laden career by winning the 2020 K League title with Jeonbuk a record four in a row and eighth overall. Lee Dong-gook hung up his boots as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals.

In baseball, the NC Dinos won their first ever Korean Series, beating 2019 winners Doosan Bears. This after sealing a first MLB regular season title.

In men’s golf, South Korean Im Sung-jae tied for second in the PGA Masters to record the best-ever finish for an Asian player.

And finally, December proved to be a rather eventful month too?

That it did. Ulsan Hyundai won the AFC Champions League title, a 2-1 victory in the final over Persepolis in Qatar.
Son Heung-min won FIFA goal of the year and in golf, Kim A-lim won the US Women’s open and Ko Jin-young won the final LPGA tournament to extend her lead to 9 points at the top of the World rankings and cap off what was a very productive 12 months for South Korean female golfers.

Thank-you for that, Paul. Happy New Year, and we shall see you next week.
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