Fatigue a factor in Hong Kong’s straight sets thumping in opening game
South Korea dominated the hosts, many of whose team members came directly from their full-time jobs
Hong Kong hope their bye on Thursday will give them enough time to regroup after their drubbing by South Korea in the opening match at the Asian Eastern Zonal Women’s Volleyball Championship at Ma On Shan Sports Centre on Wednesday.
Hong Kong coach Julian Li Yuk-hing said it was a double-edged sword for the hosts of the tounament to be able to do well.
They were outplayed by South Korea 16-25, 19-25, 15-25, who are represented by Yangsan City Hall Volleyball Team in group A of the biennial competition.
“We had big home crowd support and that’s good. But not being able to travel overseas for a tournament means our older players who work full-time can’t take leave.
"They had to work for a whole day or at most were allowed to leave early before representing Hong Kong this evening, and they need to save their holidays for the Asian Games period,” said Li, who started coaching the women’s national squad in May since their formation.
“I could tell some players were mentally tired after a day of work. We had an intense match, but our fitness was not good enough to maintain the game towards the end.”
Li hoped the team could recover from their nerves and tiredness to give their best in front of fans when they face Taiwan on Friday, who have lost in all their previous encounters.
In group B, the BAIC Motor Women’s Volleyball Team from Beijing (China) had a good start by winning their match against Erchim from Mongolia 25-5, 25-14, 25-12. Japan also scored an easy victory over Macau in straight sets, 25-6, 25-5, 25-6.
Zhang Luo, coach of BAIC, said the team hoped to “gain experience”.
“We won this tournament in Beijing two years ago, but we have a totally different line up this time, with only one player from the championship squad from last time,” said Zhang, whose team finished seventh in the national league in the past season.
"Three of the core players are training with the national squad and are not coming to Hong Kong with us."
Zhang added, “I hope our new talents can improve after getting international exposure here. In the next match, we need to deliver our best to conquer the well-trained Japanese team.”
China will take on Japan at 4pm on Thursday, while Macau will face Mongolia at 2pm, and Taiwan will play South Korea in the last match of the day at 7.30pm.