Korea’s men’s volleyball begins gold medal bid with first match against India
The Korean men’s volleyball team will begin its quest for gold at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou.
The men’s team, led by head coach Lim Do-heon, will face India in their first Group C match on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET at the Linping Sports Center Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China.
Men’s volleyball and soccer will kick off their competition three days earlier than the official opening day of the Games to build excitement for the Asian continent’s biggest festival.
Korea is ranked 27th in the FIVB world rankings, while India is 73rd.
With a victory over India, South Korea will have an easier time of it in its second group match against Cambodia on Nov. 21.
Men’s volleyball at the Asian Games features 19 teams in six pools, with the first and second place finishers in each group advancing to the round of 12.
Since Lim took over the reins of the national team, South Korea has attempted to become Asia’s top-ranked team through a generational change, but has repeatedly fallen short.
They finished third at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup in their home city of Seoul last year and fourth at the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup the same year.
This year, they finished third at the AVC Challenge Cup and fifth at the Asian Championships last month.
It is difficult to reach the finals even on the Asian stage, so the Asian Games will not be easy.
Korea will have to beat the top four Asian nations in the FIVB rankings – Japan (5th), Iran (11th), Qatar (17th) and home favorite China (29th) – to reach the gold medal match.
If Korea finishes first in Group C, they will face the second-place finisher from Group D, which features Chinese Taipei, Pakistan, and Mongolia, in the first round of the round of 12 tournament.
If they win that match, they will face the top seed in Group F, Japan, for a spot in the semifinals.
Lim has added a unique color to the team with his unconventional tactics of using Lim Dong-hyuk, who plays as an outside hitter for Korean Air, as a middle blocker, and has developed Heo Soo-bong (Hyundai Capital) into the team’s best attacker.
Eager to make amends at the Asian Games, Lim selected Han, the best setter in Korean professional volleyball (Korean Air), and gave him the role of “court commander”.
South Korea’s men’s volleyball team has won three Asian Games gold medals since winning its first in Bangkok in 978.
The team reached its peak with back-to-back titles in Busan in 2002 and Doha in 2006, and finished with a silver medal in Jakarta-Palembang 2018, where they were stopped by Iran.
According to MyInfo, the Hangzhou organizing committee’s information site, Iran will be looking to make it three in a row, following Incheon 2014 and Jakarta-Palembang 2018.
Iran’s biggest rival is Japan, which has won eight gold medals, the most ever. Japan beat Iran at the Asian Championships last month, giving the green light for Iran to regain the top spot after 13 years since the 2010 Guangzhou Games.
South Korea has won 14 medals with three gold, seven silver and four bronze. 파워볼게임