Tokyo, Japan, May 13, 2016 – Thailand’s women are aiming to reach their first ever Olympic Games when they begin the FIVB World Olympic Qualification Tournament on Saturday.
The tournament in Japan runs from May 14 to 22 and if they finish as the best-placed Asian side then they will book their place at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games, which would be their first Olympics since they joined the Olympic qualifying programme ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Thailand will open their campaign against the Dominican Republic on May 14 before going up against Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Peru in the single round-robin competition.
“You have to do your best and prove ourselves that we fear no team,” coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai told his team. “We have to bear in mind that we are coming here to make our long-awaited dreams come true.
“Of course, it’s not easy to accomplish this ultimate target, but if we play our best, I’m convinced that we can beat even the strongest teams here.”
Thailand arrived in Tokyo following a one-week training camp in Beijing where they twice took on FIVB World Cup winners China. They won the first, but lost the second to a side already assured of their place at Rio 2016.
Since arriving in Tokyo they have begun preparations at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, venue for the nine-day tournament.
“No one was injured during our training camp in China and everyone is fit physically and mentally,” Radchatagriengkai said. “We trained well in preparation for this tournament. Our training is focused on our attack, serving and receiving.
“Everything is going smoothly as planned. The setter and fast spikers produced good combinations during training. We will try to beat every team and we don’t care if the team we are fighting are former World Champions or winners from any major tournament.
“We will forget everything from the past and focus on what we will face here. We just want to come out with the best possible effort and beat every team. Our target remains unchanged...the Olympic Games.”