“I really want to know how they played against such strong opponents (overseas teams) and admire them”
On Sunday, Jincheon Athletes’ Village hosted an open training session for the Korean women’s volleyball team ahead of the 2023 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship (Aug. 30-Sept. 6, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand).
The tournament will be held four years after the 2019 edition in Seoul. There are 14 nations participating. Host Thailand will automatically qualify and will be joined by Korea, Japan, China, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Iran, Australia and India, who finished in the top 10 of the previous edition, as well as regional wildcards Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, Mongolia, Philippines and Vietnam.
In Group C, South Korea will play Taiwan, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan.
It’s been two years since the Korean national team began to create a new style of volleyball under the leadership of Cheon Myung and Cesar.
One of the new challenges for the national team since Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life) hung up her taegeuk is to find the next big thing on offense. Currently, there are a number of wingspikers in the domestic league who are serving as aces for their respective teams, but filling the void is still a challenge.
Kang So-hwi, who is currently being touted as one of the next generation of aces, is feeling both motivated and pressured.
In his last international tournament, the Volleyball Nations League (VNL), Kang totaled 83 points (2 blocking, 12 serving). He followed that up with the 2023 Gumi Dodram Cup, where he was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) after leading his team to a second straight title.
“The good feeling from the cup tournament has carried over to now,” Kang said. “Players from Europe and the U.S. have a lot of physical differences from us, but I think Korea will be able to push harder with more confidence in the Asian competition.”
There is, of course, a lot of pressure on Kim as the main striker after the retirement of Kim Yeon-kyung. “It’s definitely a lot more pressure than in the domestic league,” he said, “but I think we can do well if we work together as a team with my sisters and brothers and show our organizational skills. 안전놀이터
Of course, it’s hard to fill the void left by a world-class player. Kang So-hwi, who laughed at the funny question, “Don’t you wish Kim Yeon-kyung, who participated as a (national team) advisor, would come down and play again?” said, “Really, when we were playing so badly, I thought, ‘How did (Kim) Yeon-kyung play against such strong opponents?’ “There are many matches that we won because she led us, and I really admire her more.