South Korea’s men’s volleyball team left the court after their first match at the Hangzhou Asian Games in hopes of winning their first gold medal in 17 years, since Doha 2006.
However, they still have a chance to make amends.
The South Korean team (ranked 27th in the world), led by Lim Do-heon, lost to India (ranked 73rd) in straight sets 2-3 (27-25 27-29 22-25 25-20 15-17) in the first match of the men’s Group C preliminary round at the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games at the Linping Sports Center in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday.
The impact of losing the first match is huge.
It was the first time in 11 years since the 2012 Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup that Korea’s men’s national team had lost to India in an international tournament with professional players.
However, South Korea can still advance to the round of 12 and compete for a medal if they beat Cambodia (not ranked) on Nov. 21.
“The qualifiers are not over yet, nor is this tournament,” said ‘eldest brother’ Han (37-Korean Air) on Tuesday. “If we’re going to lose once, it’s better to lose before we enter a tournament where if we lose, we’re out. I told the juniors, ‘We’re going to get better’.”
“I feel very sorry for the fans who support Korean men’s volleyball. At the same time, they feel the need to repay their support with a win.
“We lost today, but if we win tomorrow, we have a chance to challenge for higher places,” Han said. “After the quarterfinals, we have to play every game like a final. I want to win all the remaining matches.”
South Korea will no longer have to worry about world-ranked teams like Japan (No. 5), Iran (No. 11), and Qatar (No. 17) on the Asian stage.
The likes of Pakistan (51st) and India, who Korea will face if they finish second in Group C and advance to the round of 12, threaten the established Asian powers with their height.
“India has a lot of height, and we made fewer mistakes today,” Han said. “We learned a lesson from today’s game. We will do better in the remaining matches,” he promised.
Outside hitter Jeon Kwang-in (32-Hyundai Capital), who scored 22 points on the day, bowed his head in apology.
“Before we started the Asian Games, I thought, ‘Every game is important,'” he said. Today’s game really lacked us,” he said, adding, “I apologize to the fans for the disappointing results of our national team.”
However, Jeon also expressed his determination to bounce back from the loss to India.
“After the game, I told the players, ‘Even if we lose today, we can go higher. If we win tomorrow, we’ll be in the round of 12,'” he said, adding, “The Asian Games are held once every four years. It could be my last Asian Games. I will not leave any regrets,” he vowed. 파워볼게임