Confident and fortunate, Thais begin Rio bid today
Chao Khun Thongchai sprinkles holy water around the women’s volleyball team.
4 years ago, Thailand were denied a location within the women’s volleyball contest from the London Olympic games within the cruellest manner possible amongst a significant debate.
Now, they face another uphill fight but they are once more determined to have their tickets punched for that 2016 Rio Olympic games inside a fair and square fashion.
The Thai women’s volleyball team, impressive as they’ve been around the worldwide stage for several years now, haven’t went to the Olympics.
Japan are once more playing hosts towards the women’s world Olympic qualification tournament, beginning today.
Thailand were wishing to create their first visit to the Olympic games this year when Japan lost to Serbia 3-2 other family members . from the competition. It had been the only real scoreline which may have ensured qualification for Japan and Serbia at the fee for Thailand.
World governing body FIVB later launched an analysis into prevalent allegations the match was fixed to match the requirements of both hosts Japan and Serbia but needed to shelve the probe due to a insufficient evidence.
The bitter recollections of this fateful day still rankle numerous senior people from the Thai squad and star setter Nootsara Tomkom will not make any make an effort to veil her feelings.
Nootsara, who had been voted the very best setter in the qualifying event 4 years ago, still remembers the discomfort she and her teammates endured in Japan and it is “anxious to consider revenge” around the hosts.
She stated: “Before, i was deeply saddened and you want to fight and compensate for that disappointment.
“This [Thai] team happen to be cooperating for any lengthy some time and are very well prepared to complete the job.
“I’ve been dreaming to stay the score and hope my four-year wait is going to be over soon.”
Only at that year’s world Olympic qualification tournament, which ends up on May 22, eight teams will have inside a round-robin format with four Olympic seats available to the peak-three finishers and also the best-rated Asian team. If the Asian team is rated one of the top three, then your next rated Asian side will qualify.
Another seven teams within the tournament are tobago, Italia, holland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Columbia, and Peru. Included in this, two-time former Asian champions Thailand would be the only team who’ve never performed in the Olympics.
Six teams have previously qualified for that 2016 Olympics — China, Serbia, Russia, Argentina, the united states and Cameroon. Yet another place will visit the winners of some other Olympic qualification tournament in Puerto Rico in a few days by which Colombia, Puerto Rico, Algeria and Kenya is going to be participating.
Thailand, who won bronze in the 2014 Asian Games, are spearheaded by captain Pleumjit Thinkaow plus they rang in 2 last-minute changes, getting in Yupa Saniklong and Hattaya Bamrungsuk to exchange Wanichaya Luangtonglang and Kaewkalaya Kamulthala.
“To compete in the Olympics happens to be our primary goal since it is the only real tournament we’ve yet to get familiar with,Inch stated Somporn Chaybangyang, president from the Volleyball Association of Thailand (VAT).
“They have ready for almost two several weeks and that i would say we’re 100 % confident.”
He added the only problem is spiker Onuma Sittirak, who’s still nursing a knee injuries.
They present an excellent mixture of veterans along with a new crop of players, including Chatchu-on Moksri.
“I’ve been informed through the coaches they have labored hard and gelled together very well,Inch Somporn stated.
“However, exactly the same could be stated about the rest of the teams taking part in the qualification event.
“We’re really motivated because we all do wish to entitled to the Olympics the very first time within our history.”
The Thai squad celebrate after finishing third at the 2014 Asian Games.
Today, Thailand start their campaign against the Dominican Republic.
Somporn said the first match would set the tone for the whole tournament.
“We need a good result in our first match as it could have a strong bearing on the players’ morale,” he said.
“I don’t want to put our players under any extra pressure — if they put in their best, we will accept the results.
“For me, our chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games is 50-50.”
Senior VAT official Sharnrit Wongprasert echoed Somporn’s view, saying every participating team have been looking forward to securing an Olympic berth, so it can’t be easy for Thailand.
Sharnrit added that the team must win at least four matches to have a chance of qualifying for the Games.
“We should beat Kazakhstan and Peru and then look for two more wins,” he said while rating both Italy and the Netherlands as too tough for the Thais.
He said Japan as hosts will also be strong opponents and hard to beat.
“South Korea are not easy as well but if we can handle [star spiker] Kim Yeon-Koung, we can hope for a win against them,” he said.
“I would say that our chance of making it to the Olympics is not better than four years ago. At times, it looks even tougher to me.”
Pleumjit, who has recently stepped in Wilavan Apinyapong’s shoes as captain, said the team will enter the tournament with a lot of commitment and motivation because it would be the last chance for some players to earn an Olympic ticket.
“We have been talking and encouraging each other to go after an Olympic berth full steam,” the 32-year-old said.
“We want to make history by playing in the Olympics, not just for ourselves but for the whole country.”
Pleumjit added that the first four matches would be important and the team must not lose their focus.
Wilavan, who is a member of the 14-strong squad, felt the same and believed that the team have the potential to be successful.
“I want to go to the Olympics. This is the only tournament Thailand have never taken part in. This is our big aspiration,” she said.
“This is not only for us but for the whole country.”
After taking on the Dominican Republic today, Thailand face Italy tomorrow before getting a day off on Monday. They play the Netherlands on Tuesday, followed by games against Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Peru.
Coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said he has carefully watched tapes of the Dominican Republic and is ready to take on them.
“They are slow but powerful,” said Kiattipong about the team who finished fifth at London 2012 and ninth at Athens 2004.
“Peru have not been in good form lately but they have Olympic experience, so we cannot underestimate them either.”
Peru, who will start the campaign against hosts Japan, have qualified for the Olympic Games seven times but their last appearance was 16 years ago at the Sydney Games.
Kiattipong, who has been coaching the national team since 2001, predicted that 15 points should be enough for any team to qualify for the Rio Games.
Kiattipong added that every member of team is in a confident mood after they have been blessed by revered monk Phra Prommangkalachan, or Chao Khun Thongchai, who has gained worldwide fame for blessing Thai-owned Leicester City to win the English Premier League title.
“I am confident that you will go to Brazil,” Chao Khun Thongchai told the players last week.