Will Korean Volleyball in Crisis Be able to ‘Creased Pride’ in China
Can Korean men’s and women’s volleyball regain their pride from the Asian Championships to the Asian Games? There are 45 days left until the official opening of the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
However, the Asian Games volleyball game will start on the 19th, four days earlier than the opening ceremony on September 23, with the men’s team starting on the 19th and the women’s team starting on the 28th, five days later than the opening ceremony.
Korean women’s volleyball was organized in Group C with Vietnam and Nepal, and men’s volleyball was also organized in Group C with India and Cambodia.
After attempting a generational change, both men’s and women’s volleyball have been unable to avoid ranking declines. In the case of women’s volleyball, it suffered 27 consecutive losses in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Nations League (VNL) over about two years from 2022 to 2023, and the ranking fell to 35th.
Men’s volleyball has been demoted from the VNL since 2018. Through advancing to the finals of the AVC Challenge Cup held this year, they aimed to return to the FIVB Challenge Cup and even the VNL for the first time in six years, but lost to Bahrain, ranked 77th in the world, and all dreams came to nothing. The current men’s volleyball world ranking is 31st.
In the case of women’s volleyball, one outstanding ace left and the performance quickly collapsed. Kim Yeon-kyung (Heungkuk Life Insurance), who played 16 years in the national team, returned her Taegeuk mark by putting Korea in the semifinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank) is in charge of the new captain position.
If Korean women’s volleyball does not win this time, it will fail to win a medal for the second time in the history of the Asian Games. Women’s volleyball has won silver and bronze medals since the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games, and won gold medals at the 1994 Hiroshima and 2014 Incheon Games.
So far, the only event in which she has not won a medal is the 2006 Doha Games. Unfortunately, even at this time, the original veterans such as Gu Min-jeong, Koo Gi-ran, and Kim Nam-soon fell in and a generational change in women’s volleyball took place. Kim Yeon-kyung’s joining of the national team also started around this time. At the time, Kim Yeon-kyung was only 18 years old.
The current national team is also walking in the fog, with veterans who have built a system falling out in large numbers. The tallest person over 190cm is Jeong Ho-young (KGC Ginseng Corporation). In addition, it is not easy to keep breathing for a long time due to the frequent replacement of members, and everything such as basic skills, toss, defense, and offensive operation is in the beginning stage.
Vietnam, which has been grouped with Korea, is currently ranked 47th in the world rankings based on FIVB, and Nepal is not visible in the rankings. If defeated by them, the aftermath continues uncontrollably.
The situation in men’s volleyball is similar. India, which is in the same group, is ranked 73rd, and Cambodia is not in the rankings, but it is a country with a deep affection for volleyball.
Men’s volleyball is also on the path of a generational change. Veteran setter Han Sun (Korean Air), middle blocker Shin Young-seok (Hanjeon), and libero Jung Min-soo (KB Insurance) were all excluded, and players born in the 1999-2000s were filled. The claim has been changed to Hwang Taek-ui (KB Insurance).
Heo Soo-bong (Hyundai Capital) maintains a stable Apogee Spike position, but that is not enough. In men’s volleyball, reducing the number of attacks has become a top priority.
Head coach Lim Do-hun said at a press conference that he saw the Asian Games goal as a “win” and evaluated “Japan and Iran as the most competitive opponents.” However, Japanese men’s volleyball is currently ranked fifth in the world and is so strong that it is difficult to approach among Asian volleyball teams. Iran, also ranked 10th, is not an easy target.
Men’s volleyball proved that visible rankings alone cannot be reassured as it was caught by Bahrain, ranked 77th in the AVC Challenge Cup. The same goes for women’s volleyball, which quickly fell to 35th place after being caught by Croatia.
Attention is focusing on how Korean men’s and women’s volleyball, which has entered a transitional period, will perform at the Asian Games, where European teams do not participate.