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Enthusiasm soars as Thailand enter final stretch in preparation for VNL

Thailand are enthusiastic about their participation in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League starting this month.
Bangkok, Thailand, May 1, 2018 - Coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul is confident that Thailand's strength-power training in their final preparation for the inaugural Volleyball Nations League has ultimately put the Thai women's squad on the right track.

For Thailand, to contest the VNL will prove to be no less of a daunting task as they have to encounter formidable opponents in the 16-team, five-week-long volleyball extravaganza, which will kick off its pool preliminaries on May 15, 2018.

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Thailand, current world No.16 and 10th at last year's FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, will first travel to Ekaterinburg to take on hosts Russia, the Netherlands and Argentina in Pool 1 from May 15 to 17 before going up against Rio Olympic champions China, Serbia and Poland in Pool 7 in Macau between May 22 and 24.

In the third and fourth weeks, Thailand will return for home encounters, which see the host side play Germany, world champions USA and the Dominican Republic in Bangkok in Pool 11 from May 29 to 31, and next challenge Turkey, Japan and Korea in Pool 15 from June 5 to 7 in Nakhon Ratchasima. The Thai team will then travel to Eboli, where they will compete against Brazil, Belgium and hosts Italy in Pool 19 between June 12 and 14.

"Compared with the WGP, the VNL will be a huge challenge for us. The competition will be much tougher and longer, with teams playing more matches against strong rivals from almost the same level. We have to do our best to turn heavy competition into an advantage. We need extraordinary strength and more determination to accomplish our goal for the exhausting five weeks of the competition," Danai said.

"This year, we have all difficult pools in the VNL, but Pool 7 in Macau proves to be the toughest with the presence of the top two teams in the Rio Olympics, China and Serbia. Poland also have tall players with good defence and powerful attacks. Our expectation cannot be that high in this pool, but we promise to do our best."

"The remaining four pools are also tough, but fortunately, we have two stops at home this time which can help relieve tension and fatigues from being on the road. Competing at home will help boost my players' morale. When cheered on vociferously by home fans, my players always come up with good form beyond expectation. That's why I'm upbeat we will have better results at home in the Pool 11 and Pool 15 encounters. As far as I'm concerned, while contesting overseas matches, my team produce only 80 per cent of what they really have, but at home their performance improves in leaps and bounds thanks to the spectators' support," he added.

Thai fans are expected to give a huge boost to their national team when they play at home in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Danai said that his players gathered in late March for an intensive training in preparation for the VNL, leaving him and staff coaches to work much harder in building a balanced Thailand team.

"My players competed for their own clubs in the Thailand League and completed their campaign in mid-March, allowing us only one and a half months in training with a full team. Therefore, we have to work against time - recruiting and training young talents to catch up with the advanced progress the senior players have made. They have to make independent decisions, learn from each other quickly and have the right skills while training together. To make sure everything is completely set ahead of the start of the VNL, we have to make our team system strong. What it really takes for our team success is a team of talented players, organised in ways that truly let them shine on court."

"Another much-needed tool for a success of Thailand," Danai said, "is team spirit as well as tactics and technique the players obtained while training together under the close supervision of staff coaches."

Asked about his expectation for Thailand to be among the Final 6 teams in Nanjing, Danai said, "I think every team expects the same thing, that is to make the cut for the Final 6. However, I dare say that it's not easy to reach the Nanjing Finals. We have to do our best one at a time and try to come up with better results after each match. It's likely that every team will make use of their strong players to make their team well tuned-up prior to their participation in the World Championship later this year."

Ajcharaporn Kongyot ready to serve in last year's World Grand Prix.

"Two players in my team have already shown their outstanding form during the training stints. Ajcharaporn (Kongyot) and Chatchu-on (Moksri) turned major forces of our team to be reckoned with in the upcoming VNL. Both of them had already become the Thailand stars who had shot to stardom at the previous World Grand Prix. I'm also satisfied with improved performances of the rest of the team. I hope we can go one step further than the 10th place we achieved last year in the World Grand Prix."

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