South Korea’s men’s volleyball team suffered a shock exit in the round of 12 before the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games had even officially opened.
Korea, ranked 27th in the world by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), led by coach Lim Do-heon, lost to tricky opponent Pakistan, ranked 51st, with a set score of 0-3 (19-25 22-25 21-25) in the round of 12 tournament at the China Jingbang Sports Center Gymnasium in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, China, on Wednesday.
With some sports, including soccer and men’s volleyball, being held as preliminary matches before the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Asian Games, which kicks off on Sept. 23, the Korean men’s volleyball team failed to live up to expectations and dropped to the 7th-12th position after three matches.
South Korea will play Bahrain (74th) in the ranking match at 8 p.m. (KST) on Thursday at the Linping Sports Center Gymnasium in Hangzhou.
South Korea’s hopes of winning an Asian Games gold medal for the first time in 17 years since Doha 2006 have been dashed.
They also suffered their first ‘no medal’ at an Asian Games in 61 years, since Jakarta in 1962.
South Korean men’s volleyball had won 14 consecutive Asian Games medals (3 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze) since winning a silver medal in Bangkok in 1966 until Jakarta-Palembang 2018.
South Korea fell on thorny ground two days earlier, losing to India (73rd) for the first time in 11 years in their first group game.
They advanced to the round of 12 with Cambodia as the second-ranked team in the group, but were embarrassed by Pakistan, whose tall and reliable receivers were unable to keep up with them.
While Asian rivals Japan (5th), Iran (11th), Qatar (17th), and China (29th) have either improved by leaps and bounds or stayed the same, Korea’s “frog in the well” volleyball team is no longer a sure bet for victory against fast-growing South Asian teams like India and Pakistan.
South Korea never took the lead against Pakistan in the first set of the match and were forced to raise the white flag.
In the first set, they gave up five points to Pakistan’s high blocking, 14 points to their two wingers, Fayad Ali Usman (nine points) and Murad Khan (five points), and three points to their middle blocker Abdul Zahir (three points).
Six unforced errors by the unskilled Pakistan were the only thing that kept them in the game.
In the second set, Korea capitalized on back-to-back Pakistani errors to tie the score at 14-14, but they were unable to capitalize on the opportunity to turn the tide and went on a run of over 20 consecutive points.
They tried to find a way with their serve, but there were too many errors.
They also dug themselves into a hole by failing to block any of Pakistan’s attacks in sets one and two.
At 2-4 in the third set, South Korea scored its first blocking point in the 20th attempt of the match, but it was pierced by a series of high-hitting Pakistani blows and eventually threw up the white flag at 12-17.
South Korea was heavily outplayed in blocking, 5-9, and in attack points, 34-45. 스포츠토토