Published on November 8, 2007
[volleyball] Thailand performed superbly to finish third at the Asian Championships in Nakhon Ratchasima in September. Their impressive form included a dramatic 3-2 win over the Koreans. However, in a reversal of form, the Thais, under head coach Nataphon Srisamutnak, succumbed to the fast-improving Koreans 21-25 20-25 21-25.
It was their fifth straight loss in the 12-nation tournament, where only the top three teams from the single round-robin competition will join hosts China in next year's Beijing Olympics.
In their opening match against European champions Italy on November 2, Thailand lost in straight sets before going down 1-3 to Serbia and 2-3 to the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday, the Thai girls were sent packing by hosts Japan in straight sets before facing the same fate at the hands of Korea yesterday.
Captain Wilavan Apiin-yapong emerged as Thailand's top scorer in the match against the Koreans - scoring 12 points in attack. Jung Dae-young led the Koreans with 16 points, including 11 kills and five scintillating blocks.
"It was a disappointing match. My girls have failed to make a mark here. Their first-ball reception did not live up to expectations," said coach Nataphon.
"We beat Korea at the Asian Championships with almost the same set of players. Here the Koreans fielded new players and they played very well, especially their setter. She was really good and experienced, and could turn a bad ball into a good ball, giving her team-mates more attacking chances."
Today is a rest day. Thailand next take on powerhouse Brazil tomorrow before going up against USA and Cuba on November 10 and 11, respectively. Their last three matches against Kenya, Peru and Poland will take place from November 14 to 16.