I was worried that our future might not turn out like this.”
These were the words of Heo Hoon, the ace of the Korean men’s basketball team, who entered the final match in Hangzhou on the 23rd.
The Korean men’s basketball team, led by coach Chu Il-seung, appeared in Hangzhou through Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport on the 23rd.
After arriving at the airport, the national team spoke briefly with reporters. One of the hot topics was the men’s volleyball team, which failed to avoid a shocking elimination from the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.
The volleyball team’s nightmare began on the 20th. In the first match of Group C against India, they bowed out with a score of 2-3 (27-25, 27-29, 22-25, 25-20, 15-17) after a fierce battle in the full set. It has been 11 years since Korea lost to India in the 2012 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup.
The impact was huge. Above all, the shock was bound to be even greater because Korea’s FIVB ranking was 25th, while India was only 73rd.
Fortunately, the national team led by Coach Lim Do-heon seemed to change the atmosphere by defeating Cambodia (unranked), which was made up of Ama players, on the 21st and advanced to the round of 12.레고토토
But the good vibes didn’t last long. The following day, on the 22nd, in the match against Pakistan (51st in the FIVB ranking), they were completely defeated with a set score of 0-3 (19-25, 22-25, 21-25) and were relegated to the ranking match for 7th to 12th places.
Men’s volleyball, which succeeded in winning medals 14 times in a row from the 1966 Bangkok Games to the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, suffered the humiliation of ‘no medals’ for the first time in 61 years since the 1962 Indonesian Games in Jakarta.
This shocking situation for the volleyball team put the men’s basketball team on alert. Coach Choo Il-seung, whom we met on the 23rd, said, “After the players arrived, we heard these news and communicated with each other,” and emphasized, “There has been a prejudice against Southeast Asian countries that we are the weakest, but that should no longer exist.”
Even for ace Heo Hoon, the volleyball team’s elimination seemed to come as a shock. He said, “I saw (the article) today (23rd). “I was definitely alarmed,” he said with a surprised expression. “I was also worried that our future might not turn out like this.” “It’s a bad situation for volleyball, but our players have become alert,” he said.
The early failure of the men’s volleyball team to win a medal is certainly unfortunate, but as Heo Hoon said, it may have the effect of strengthening the mental strength of players in other sports, including the men’s basketball team, and uniting them as one.
Before leaving the country, Jeon Seong-hyun, a shooter for the men’s basketball team, said, “I don’t really watch sports news, but I watched it because it was the Hangzhou Asian Games. I was surprised to see it said ‘Hangzhou disaster’, but it was a volleyball article. I thought we couldn’t do it either. I was worried at first, but after reading the article, I thought it was a good thing. “I was able to focus more, and I had the will to do well,” he said resolutely.
Meanwhile, the Korean men’s basketball team, which is looking to win the Asian Games for the first time in nine years in Hangzhou since the 2014 Incheon Games, was in Group D along with Indonesia, Qatar, and Japan. Chu Il Seung-ho, who will play his first game against Indonesia on the 26th, will also face Qatar and Japan on the 28th and 30th respectively to advance to the tournament.
In this basketball tournament, three out of four teams from each group will advance to the round of 12 tournament. The first place in the group wins a direct ticket to the quarterfinals, and the second and third place in the group must pass the round of 12 to advance to the quarterfinals.