March 19, 2004 - The Thailand women's Volleyball team has decided to bypass their original heavy pre-season training schedule in April in order to participate in a warm up tournament in Russia.
The initial plan for Thailand was to train intensively in China ahead of a crucial Olympic Qualification tournament in Tokyo, Japan in May, however, it was deemed more valuable to cut short the Chinese based preparations in favour of accepting an invitation to compete with seven other international teams in Russia.
Thailand face a difficult task when they travel to Tokyo for the Olympic qualifier, which runs from May 6-8 but national team head coach Natthapol Srisamutnak, believes with a proper training schedule, his team will be in peak condition for the crucial examination. "The Russian tournament could be a stepping stone for my girls before they take part in the Japan meet," Srisamutnak said. "They will obtain valuable experience from their trip to Russia".
"We also plan to do some work in Chiang Mai with the Chinese team Lionning. By competing in five tune-up matches with them, my team will stand a good chance of learning more tactics and techniques," Srisamutnak added.
Eight teams will take part in the invitational event in Russia - three time Olympic champions Cuba as well as Croatia, Azerbaijan, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Thailand and the host nation.
Meanwhile, eight teams - South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Russia, world
champions Italy, Nigeria, Puerto Rico and Japan - will battle it out for four available Olympic tickets in the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Tokyo.
Only the top three teams plus the best Asian squad will secure berths for the Olympic Games in Athens.