BANGKOK – Thailand failed to earn a single point in the second week of the 2014 World Grand Prix after losing to Japan 3-1 in Hong Kong last Sunday (August 10).
After being beaten by China and Italy in the first two matches, Thailand on Sunday (August 10) lost to Japan 25-18, 25-15, 19-25, 25-20 in their final Pool F match in the second week of the preliminary matches.
The defeat means that Thailand, ranked 12th in the world, earned only two points from six matches and remain bottom in the 12-team event, while Japan, who claimed their fifth win over Thailand from seven meetings in the World Grand Prix, sealed their first win in this year’s edition.
“I am not surprised with the result because our team had only a few weeks to prepare,” said Shanrit Wongprasert, CEO of the Volleyball Association of Thailand. “We should have trained together for one or two months. Taking that into account, it is not too bad.”
Thailand’s best result in this competition came in 2012, when they finished fourth.
Sharnrit added that the busy domestic volleyball programme makes it difficult for players to join the camp as scheduled and that the problem must be solved.
Thailand are also faced with a tough assignment when they host world No.1 Brazil, No.2 USA and No.8 Dominican Republic at Hua Mark Indoor Stadium this week, in the last of the preliminary rounds.
“Brazil and USA might be too tough to beat but we stand a good chance against the Dominicans,” said Sharnrit. “We need a point to make sure we will stay in the 12-team division next year.”
In the absence of Pleumjit Thinkhao for these three matches, Thailand found it too difficult to deal with Japan’s variety of tactics.
“Japan have improved their tactics, including blocking and receiving the ball,” Thailand national headcoach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said. “They also had a fast counter-attack and we could not handle it.”
However, the coach said his players had tried their best and that some parts of their games had improved from the first week.
“Our serve and ball receiving were better but we are still poor in blocking and attacking,” he said. “For the final three matches in Bangkok, two more players will be brought in to help the team.”
Pleumjit said that she was recovering well but her chance to play this week depends on the doctor’s advice.
“It is getting better. But it is up to the team’s doctor,” she said.
Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe, whose team have five points after six matches, said it was not easy to beat the Thais.
“Our team is not as good in that but it’s great to learn from them,” he said.
Japan will play in Macau this week, facing Serbia, South Korea and China.
Also in Pool F yesterday, China beat Italy 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 25-16 for their fourth win in the tournament and stay second on the table with 13 points. Bangkok Post