Thailand up for World
Grand Prix challenge - Sutichai
14, 2005 – Despite the odds being heavily against them,
the Thailand women’s Volleyball team is still aiming
high against the world's best women’s teams in the 2005
World Grand Prix, which starts on June 24.
This year’s edition of the premier women’s international
Volleyball event marks Thailand’s fourth successive
entry and with a record of 10th, ninth and eighth in the
previous three years, they’re hoping for better things
to come later this month.
The Thai team, ranked 17th in the world, returned from
Vietnam early this month after finished
a disappointing fifth at the Asian
Women's Club Championship.
Shortly after their return to Bangkok, the team members
started their intensive training in
preparation for the
much vaunted World Grand Prix. Six key players -
Patcharee Sangmuang, Nurak Nokputta, Pluemjit Thinkaow,
Narumon Khan-An, Wanna Burkaew and Nootsara Tomkom, did
not compete in the Asian Women's Club Championship but
joined the team this time, making it one of the
strongest Thai line ups ever.
Thai head coach Sutichai Chanbunchee said that his team
obtained valuable experience playing against such strong
teams as Korea, Taiwan and China in the Asian Club
Championship. "However, we did not field our full team
and that's why we could not do that much there. A fifth
place, I think, is a let-down. However, we don't have
many choices in life sometimes. We learnt a lot in
Vietnam and I think that my team needs further
improvement to be a contender in the World Grand Prix,"
Sutichai said. "In the upcoming World Grand Prix,
several tall players such as Patcharee, who stands 181cm
tall, and a 180cm Pluemjit will join my team and
certainly, their presence will help strengthen the team.
This, I think, will make our match against our rivals
more competitive although we remain underdogs," he
"My girls still have a problem with poor receiving.
However, I hope that a newly-formed Thai team will come
out with tremendously-improved form in the WGP. For me,
the World Grand Prix is a very challenging assignment.
This is my first time coaching the national women's
team. Although it's an uphill task to beat much stronger
teams such as China, USA, Poland and Japan, I think a
chance to win even a single set from them is something
to be proud of.
we are setting our eyes on winning but whether Thailand
can accomplish such difficult target depends upon my
girls. It's better to set our target one round at a
time. In fact, I dare not say what position my team will
finish this year.
"In our debut attempt in 2002, Thailand was
inexperienced and that was why they finished at the
bottom among eight participating teams. A year later, we
improved our fortunes by sharing the ninth position with
Japan. A total of 12 teams competed that year. It was
not bad. I think it was a better job than the previous
year since our position was better than Cuba and Canada,
who finished in 11th.
"Last year, we beat Korea to finish 10th, while Korea
and Dominican Republic were placed in 11th and 12th
positions respectively. This year, there have strong
teams competing in the World Grand Prix and for us, to
beat each team is a difficult job. However, anything can
happen. Who knows, underdogs can beat the best teams.”