Thailand looking for change of fortune at home
Thailand, July 6, 2005 - The Thai and US teams will
renew their rivalry in Friday’s curtain-raiser of the
World Grand Prix final leg in Bangkok, with local fans
expected to give the home team an edge and help them
avenge their recent loss to the Americans in China.
The third leg of the tournament in Bangkok features four
teams - the US, Japan, Poland and Thailand – and they
will play in a round-robin three-day meet at The Mall
Bangkapi's MCC Hall.
A coach’s press conference took place on Wednesday at
the Radisson Hotel to give all four participating teams
a chance to comment on their preparation and chances
towards the World Grand Prix Bangkok leg.
Pic: Sermsak Pongpanich, deputy Interior Minister and
president of Volleyball Association of Thailand, seated
in the centre, presides over the welcome party and press
interview for all four participating teams in the 2005
World Grand Prix in Bangkok
Apart from the press interview, Sermsak Pongpanich,
deputy Interior Minister and president of the Volleyball
Association of Thailand, delivered a welcome speech to
"By taking part in the World Grand Prix 2005 in Bangkok,
foreign teams will stand a better chance to explore
Thailand and it will also be a good opportunity for Thai
fans and youngsters to watch the world's premier women's
Volleyball tournament,” he said. “Certainly, it's a rare
chance for us to watch such a world-class event.
Six-time SEA Games champions Thailand did not win a
single set in the last two legs in China and the
Philippines and have only six points from six straight
"My players are unfit, like they were last year. Many
players including captain Patcharee Sangmuang and
Piyamas Koyjapoh have suffered injuries," Thai head
coach Sutichai Chanbunchee said. "We had to take on the
world's best teams such as world champions Italy, Athens
Olympic champions China and former consecutive
three-time Olympic champions Cuba and our expectations
against them could not be that high.
"We hope to improve on our form in Bangkok. We lost to
the US in Ningbo [China] and I told my girls to do their
best to avenge that loss on home soil. Although it's
rather tough to beat the US, I told my girls to win at
least a set from them or try to make it a close match."
Pic: The Thailand national women's team
Chinese volleyball legendary Lang Ping, head coach
of the US team, said she is happy her team has a chance
to play in Thailand in the third and final leg of the
"We beat Thailand in Ningbo and we will try to repeat
the feat," she said. "However, I admit that we will have
a tough time here because we have to beat both the Thai
side and their home fans."
Meanwhile, Japan's head coach Shoichi Yanagimoto said
only four players in his team experienced the Athens
Olympic Games. He plans to reshuffle his players during
the competition, with new talent replacing the old.
"This will give them a chance to obtain competition
Polish head coach Andrzej Niemczyk has struggled with
cancer over the years despite the fact that he still has
a lot of work with the Polish national women's team.
"That's okay. I have no problem with it. The deadly
disease could not affect my dedication to my team. We
hope to be victorious in Bangkok."
The three-day World Grand Prix final leg in Bangkok
kicks off on Friday, with USA taking on Thailand at 2pm
(local time) and Japan playing Poland at 5pm.
Fuji TV will televise all Japan's matches live to their
country, while UBC 36 will broadcast all matches live in