A first gold medal in 17 years, a first heartbreak in 11 years. The South Korean men’s volleyball team suffered a shock defeat in their first match of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Lim Do-heon-coached team lost to 73rd-ranked India 2-3 (27-25 27-29 22-25 25-20 15-17) in the first match of the Men’s Pool C at the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games at the Linping Sports Center in Hangzhou, China on Tuesday. Korea is ranked 27th in the world.
It started well. They took the lead early in the first set and held off a late Indian rally to secure the first set win. Korea jumped out to a 3-0 lead with kills from Kim Jun-woo (Samsung Fire), Heo Soo-bong (Hyundai Capital), and Na Kyung-bok (Ministry of Defense). However, the momentum shifted midway through the set, and they found themselves down 20-22. They eventually scored the final point on an opponent error to win the deuce 27-25.
South Korea dropped the second and third sets in straight sets. In the fourth set, they took a comfortable 25-20 win to send the match to the final set. Pride was on the line in the fifth set. Korea’s determination did not pay off. After allowing India’s Manjunatha Lakshmipuram to tie the score, she made back-to-back blocks. The score reversed from 15-14 to 15-17, and Korea lost to India.
It’s been 11 years since South Korea lost to India in the 2012 Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup, 2-3. With a win against Cambodia on Nov. 21, the team will be able to join the round of 12 and continue its medal challenge, but the aftermath of the loss to India will be lingering. The mood of the squad was somber.
Kim Kyu-min (Korean Air) told the Asian Games News Service after the match, “It was a tough game. We thought it would get better, but it didn’t,” he said, adding, “We have to go into the next game thinking that things will get better.”
Jeon Kwang-in (Hyundai Capital) said, “We have to come together tomorrow and start again.” When asked if he was caught off guard, he said, “I don’t think it’s right to play casually. Personally, I think every player has a responsibility.”
After the victory over South Korea, India coach Saka Jaideep was asked if he was confident that they could win, and he replied, “Yes, and we did. We have a great team, but the truth is that our preparation was not smooth. We had only two months to gel,” he said.
“But we expected to do well because our players are very good. We will do better. I believe where there are challenges, there are opportunities.”토토사이트
India has won one silver and two bronze medals in men’s volleyball at previous Asian Games. “We believe in hard work. That is the answer. Medals are the next question,” Jaideep said.
South Korea won gold at the last Asian Games in Doha in 2006. Since then, they have consistently finished on the medal stand. It won bronze in Guangzhou in 2010 and bronze in Incheon in 2014. At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, they won silver before losing to Iran in the final.
After 16 consecutive medal finishes between Bangkok 1966 and 2018, South Korea is in crisis.