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Thailand aim for World Champs second round

Thailand will compete in Pool C at this year's FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship alongside USA, Cuba, Germany, Kazakhstan and Croatia
Bangkok, Thailand, May 25, 2010 - Thailand has revealed that its sights are firmly set on making it to the second round of the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship in Japan when it runs from October 29-November 14.

Thailand will compete in Pool C with the USA, Cuba, Germany, Kazakhstan and Croatia and all matches will take place in Matsumoto, Japan.

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The side will open their first-round campaign against the USA on October 29, followed by tough matches against Kazakhstan and Croatia on October 30 and 31 respectively. The current Asian champions will then face three-time Olympic champions Cuba on November 2 before playing Germany on November 3.

Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai, Thailand’s coach, said that the squad has been training intensively since February, with many key players such as Pleumjit Thinkaow and Onuma Sittirak competing in overseas leagues.

“We have had to wait for eight years to make a comeback attempt in the World Championships,” Kiattipong said. “Despite a strong challenge, we have to do our best in the tournament. At least, we must clear the first hurdles and cruise our way to the second round.”

This will be Thailand’s third outing at a FIVB World Women's Volleyball Championship following their debut in 1998 where they finished 15th and their 17th place finish at the 2002 edition. In 2005, Thailand finished fifth in the Asian Qualification Tournament, resulting in them not making the cut for tournament.

“We have a tough draw in this year's world meet in Japan, but I'm upbeat my girls will come up with their top form to book a place in the second round,” Kiattipong added. “An uphill task awaits us in the second round since it's possible that we might face powerhouses Brazil and Italy."

According to Kiattipong three or four young guns, including hard-hitting trio Wanitchaya Luangtonglang, Anongporn Promrat and Rasamee Supamoon, will be called to join the team. He said next month's 15th Princess Cup Invitation Tournament will be regarded as the real test for those young players and it is there where he coach will assess whether they have the potential to play in the national senior squad.

“Since the World Championship will be held in October, when it's winter in Japan, we've planned to travel to the competition early to acclimatize to the weather conditions,” the coach remarked. “We will leave Thailand on October 16 and upon arrival in Japan, we will sharpen our skills with local teams.”

“To make my girls fit physically and mentally, sport science is essential,” he added. “Therefore, around 10 sport scientists as well as nutritionists and psychologists have been assigned to help look after them. Additionally, we have to simultaneously develop their tactics and techniques,"

He added that setting and combinations are the main positive aspects for the side, but they have to improve their blocking and serving.

“We have around five months of good preparation left ahead of the actual competition. Only Pleumjit Thinkaow sustained an ankle injury, but it will heal in time for sure.”

“Since we have to take part in several major tournaments this year, I think my girls will learn a lot of tactics and techniques, while those who competed in international leagues have already learned how to cope well with difficult situations on court and how to match competitively with the much taller rivals. This will be a great asset for my team when they have to play tough matches in Japan."

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