Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 3, 2009 - Tension, pressure and nervousness were perceived on the faces of the local organizers as Thailand was getting ready to play Egypt for the first match of this home World Championship. However, the girls did an extremely good job, outplaying Egypt in three straight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-16).
The local girls had been eagerly longing for this moment and finally the Thais entered the court this afternoon in the main competition hall for their first match here in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Quite packed tribunes, with many young students trying to boost their heroines with drums and loud choirs, welcomed the Thais who opened with real self-confidence their campaign in the World Championship (10-4) against the Egyptians.
The atmosphere in the hall was more than amazing, with the local fans loudly celebrating every single rally scored by their girls. Thailand maintained a very good pace, especially in attack, and sailed rapidly through the first set for the delight of a totally frenzied local crowd, managing also to stop a late comeback of Egypt for the final 25-21.
Thailand opened confidently also the second set (6-3), displaying quite a good variety of offensive solutions and a remarkable solidity in reception. The Thais are certainly not the most impressive players in this tournament in terms of their physical skills, but they do really compensate that limit with a great team spirit and a dazzling attitude, striving tirelessly for each ball.
Egypt struggled especially in reception, thus significantly reducing the chances of performing a successful counterattack (16-10 at the second technical break). Like in the first set, Thailand suffered a sort of black-out after having landed over point nr. 20, but eventually resumed back to move the set count to 2:0 with Talubjai Wongwirot scoring the very last rally and firing up quite a long and loud choir (25-18).
The Thai show – in and off the court – continued with even more fashion in the third set, with the local favorites sailing away very quickly for the 8-2 that called for the first technical break. Their attacks – even from the back row – were always well placed and Egypt did not really find a way to stop the marvelous run of the hosts.
The score quickly moved up to 16-6 and the Thais seemed likely to score their first match in this Championship in three easy sets.
That was the case, as captain Chuewulim and her fellows clinched the third set 25-16 to fire up an amazing and colorful party on the stands. In spite of an overall good performance, the Thais will have to avoid any up and down for the next matches against Germany and Serbia, which are surely much more solid and ambitious opponents than the Egyptians.