Korea want to protect their star player Kim Yeon Koung
Tokyo, Japan, May 13, 2016 – Korea will be fighting for a place in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tokyo, which runs from May 14 to 22.
Korea are ranked No. 9 in the world and will be up against Japan (5th), Dominican Republic (7th), Italy (8th), Thailand (13th), the Netherlands (14th), Peru (21st) and Kazakhstan (26th).
“No team is guaranteed a win or to beat any team,” Korea coach Lee Jung Chul said.
The tournament will involve seven matches for each team with starting times varying from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Korea will feature in the first match of the tournament against Italy at 10 a.m. on May 14.
“To have to get up at 6 a.m. for a 10 a.m. start and to play at such irregular times will be hard to adjust to,” Lee said. “But it is important that we are able to adjust to these times.”
Lee says that getting the best out of Kim Yeon Koung will be vital for his team.
“The most important thing for us is to protect Kim Yeon Koung,” he said. However, Korea will be hoping the attention put on Kim Yeon Koung will allow other players, such as Kim Hee Jin and Lee Jae Young, to capitalise on opportunities at the net.
Korea faces three of the toughest teams – Italy, the Netherlands and Japan – from the start of the competition
“It would be good to get at least one win from these games to relieve the pressure on us in the remaining games,” Lee says.
After the Italy match, Korea will meet the Netherlands on May 15, Japan (May 17), Kazakhstan (18), Peru (20), Thailand (21) and the Dominican Republic (22).