It’s time for the national team again. Restoring the pride that was crumpled last year is the top priority.
The Korean women’s volleyball team,안전놀이터 led by coach Cesar Hernandez Gonzalez (Spain), started training in earnest in Turkiye, where the 2023 International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Week 1 competition will be held. Korea will play its first game against Turkey on June 1st (Korean time), then face Canada (2nd), USA (3rd) and Thailand (4th) in turn. Afterwards, the stage will be moved from Brazil to Suwon, where the 2nd and 3rd weeks will be held.
Korea was humiliated by losing all 12 matches in the VNL last year. Kim Yeon-kyung, Kim Su-ji (Heungkuk Life Insurance), and Yang Hyo-jin (Hyundai E&C), the protagonists of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics semifinal myth, returned the Taegeuk mark, but it was humiliating that they still failed to win a single point.
Following last year, Park Jung-ah (Pepper Savings Bank), who was in charge of this year, will have a different resolution. I can’t disappoint the fans this time either. Moreover, since major international competitions such as the 2024 Paris Olympics qualifiers and the Hangzhou Asian Games will be held one after another this year, the first VNL atmosphere is more important than anything else.
Park Jung-ah, who showed confidence in a recent public interview at the Jincheon National Training Center, met with reporters before leaving for Turkey on the 22nd and pledged, “I want to come back this year with a smile.” He said, “Last year, there were many young players who were new to the international stage. I am sure that I have grown a little more through my experiences last year.”
The big difference from last year is that the staff has been reinforced. Broadcasting commentator Han Yu-mi was appointed as the national team coach, and Kim Yeon-kyung is helping her juniors as an advisor (advisor). Park Jung-ah thanked her, saying, “I am receiving a lot of help.”
Park Jung-ah has been running non-stop since last year. Convened to the national team as soon as the V-League in the 2021-2022 season was over, he was first selected as captain and digested a tight schedule such as the VNL and the World Championships. He struggled to save the sluggish national team, but could not prevent the worst losing streak. Due to the forced march, he suffered from shingles at the beginning of the V-League in the 2022-2023 season and suffered for a while. After hesitating until the middle of the season, he confirmed the value of ‘Clutch Park’ on big stages such as playoffs and championships and put Korea Expressway Corporation on top. His body was exhausted from pouring out all his energy.
After the season, he received the qualification as a free agent (FA) and took a short break wearing the Pepper Savings Bank uniform with the best treatment. However, he was called up to the national team after less than 15 days. Regaining strength with a sense of responsibility, he said, “It is true that there is pressure, but it is unavoidable, so I will definitely overcome it.”