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Thai women’s volleyball team looking to book ticket for Tokyo Olympics

Thai women’s volleyball team looking to book ticket for Tokyo Olympics

VOLLEYBALL: The Thai women's volleyball team aim to claim a historic Olympic berth on home soil this week.

VolleyballOlympics
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 7 January 2020, 08:25AM


Members of the Thai women's volleyball team pose at Thao Suranaree Monument in Nakhon Ratchasima. Photo: Bangkok Post

Members of the Thai women's volleyball team pose at Thao Suranaree Monument in Nakhon Ratchasima. Photo: Bangkok Post

With only one ticket to the 2020 Games available, the Thais must win the Asian Women's Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament which begins today in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Thailand have never secured a volleyball spot at the Olympics and this is a good opportunity for them to achieve the feat.

The Thais are hot favourites to be crowned champions in Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday (Jan12) with South Korea seen as their most dangerous opponents.

Thailand are in Pool A with Taiwan and Australia, while South Korea are in Pool B with Iran, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.

The top two teams of each group reach the semi-finals.

Thailand captain Nootsara Tomkom said yesterday (Jan 6) she and her teammates are ready to vie for the Olympic spot.

“We are now 100 percent ready. We are looking forward to the tournament,” said the veteran setter.

“We are determined to book a ticket to the Tokyo Games. We have a good chance of achieving this as we will play at home in front of our fans. We want to win the tournament as a present for our fans. We will create history together.”

Thailand will begin their campaign against Taiwan today and Nootsara said it won't be easy.

“Taiwan are a good team and their playing style is similar to that of Japan. We can't afford to make easy mistakes. But I think we will beat them.”

Thailand coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul said: “This is an important tournament and every team is ready. We cannot underestimate any team. We will try our best to win a ticket to the Olympics.

“I am not trying to put extra pressure on my players. We will focus on a match-by-match basis. We want to get a good result in every game. We are now ready for the competition.”

The women's volleyball squad have been Thailand's most successful team over the past decade.

They sealed the country's first ever Asian title in the sport in 2009 and were champions again in 2013.

Their success at the SEA Games in the Philippines last month means they have now won the gold medal at the biennial event 12 times in a row.

They won the Kingdom's first ever Asian Games medal in indoor volleyball after finishing third at the 2014 tournament and then went a step farther with a silver at the 2018 Asiad.

The Nakhon Ratchasima tournament is likely to be the last chance for several Thai stars to seal an Olympic berth as Nootsara, Pleumjit Thinkaow and Onuma Sittrak are all in their 30s now.

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