The year 2009 has turned out to be a golden year
for the Thailand Women’s National Team, coinciding nicely with celebrations
feting 50 years of Volleyball in the country.
The miracle happened in Hanoi, Vietnam when the Thai
team was crowned continental champion for the first time when they won the 15th
Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.
And for the first time the team will participate in
the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup.
Thailand first exhibited hints of its current level
of success in 2007, when it beat Korea, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei at the 14th
Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship in September that year to claim third
place behind China and eventual winners Japan.
And in their first appearance at a World Cup, the
team finished in 10th place with a credible two wins at the 2007 tournament in
Thailand finished third at the 2001 Asian Women’s
Volleyball Championship, beating Japan on the way to this fantastic
achievement, before debuting at the FIVB World Grand Prix in 2002. Since then
they have appeared every year at the tournament except for 2007.
Another highlight for the team was its fourth-place
finish at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.
The Thailand Women's National Team was founded in
1979 under an FIVB development plan called "The 2001 National Team
Thailand is currently focused on preparation for
the 2010 World Championship, 2011 World Cup and 2012 London Olympics.
Radchatagriengkai, a national ace spiker turned head coach, has brought fame
and reputation to the Thailand Volleyball Association and its Women's National
Team in particular.
Radchatagriengkai spearheaded the Thai Men's National Team to a well-earned
title at the 1995 South East Asian Games in Chiang Mai, a northern province of
Two years later, Thailand hosted the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship in
the same province. The 43-year-old Radchatagriengkai played a vital role in
coaching the Thai girls' team to an unprecedented fifth place, a remarkable
success in what turned out to be a golden era for girls' Volleyball in
Radchatagriengkai later became the head coach of
Thailand's Women's National Team. In 1998, the team made history by qualifying
for the first time for the FIVB Women's World Championship in Japan. Radchatagriengkai
steered the team to 15th place at the world meet.
Under his guidance, Thailand qualified again for
the 2002 World Championship Finals in Germany. This time, they finished 20th
among the world's top 24 teams.
Under the close supervision of the devoted Radchatagriengkai, the Thai Women's
Team also performed superbly to book a berth at the 2010 FIVB Women's World
Championship in Tokyo, Japan.
Radchatagriengkai led the team to the eighth place
in their World Grand Prix debut in 2002. Last year, he took charge as team
manager and piloted the team to 11th place at the premier women's competition.
The coach underlined his credentials even more when
he helped guide the team to its first continental crown, beating 11-time
champions China in the final of the 15th Asian Senior Women’s
Volleyball Championship in Hanoi, Vietnam earlier this year. That win earned
the team a spot in the coveted FIVB World Grand Champions Cup.
Despite a daunting task ahead, Radchatagriengkai is
very determined to get the Thai team off to a strong start en route to the 2010
World Championship, the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 London Olympic Games.