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With Big Shot Kwon Behind, Hyundai Catches Samsung

Posted December. 25, 2002 22:55,   


"I will kill the fame of Samsung."

Setter Kwon Young-min (22), the youngest player of Hyundai Capital`s men`s volleyball team, has a bold dream. This is the first year of Kwon¢s career as an amateur club player. But he constitutes the core of his team¢s new strategy: Fast unconventional attack.

Hyundai Capital`s Gym in Wonhyo Ro, Seoul, three days to Korean Volleyvall Super League`s opening. One player threw himself into the air in the direction of the ball. Shooting himself into the air, he barely revived the ball. His teammates shouted "Nice" together. It was the cheering of Kwon¢s colleagues.

Kwon is the biggest shot among the new club players expected to graduate from college next year. Kwon led his team, or Inah Univesity to victory in the Tournament of Best Varsity Teams, where only the teams that have come up to the final in a tournament in a certain year are eligible to participate. Along with his laser-guiding tossing, he is not only good at blocking with his tall statue of 190cm, but also at attacking. These merits of him put Kwon on top among college players across all positions. Naturally, Hyundai Capital and Korean Airline competed with each other to catch Kwon.

Right upon joining the team, Kwon secured the position of his team¢s setter. It is uncertain whether Hyundai`s star players, such as Hoo In-chong and Song In-suk, would play in the upcoming season due to their injuries. Nonetheless, Hyundai`s coach Song Man-duk is aiming at toppling Samsung, which has won the Super Leagues championship 6 times in a row. Although the average height is lower than that of Samsung players, Hyundai plans to win the imitative with swift and untraditional strategies. This plan in turn requires the setter organize the attack effectively. Song believes that Kwon will carry out the role handsomely. Kwon demonstrated in college what it means to toss fast.

The opening game between Hyundai and Samsung, which is two days away, will be the first test of Kwon. LG, which constitutes the three powerful along with Samsung and Hyundai, has decided not to participate in this league due to the "Lee Kyung-soo" scandal, leaving the championship struggle between Hyundai and Samsung.

One bothering fact lies in that Kwon has not trained much. He joined his team only 9 days ago, such a short time to build up a perfect teamwork. In addition, it is his first time in the club league, and, therefore, it is hard to get rid of the jitter.

"I know lots of people expect a lot from me. In fact, I feel a little overwhelmed. But I`m sure I will get better game after game. I will show what the unconventional attacking means."

It`s exciting to see whether Kwon will lead his team and topple Samsung. Coach Song confidently said, "I firmly believe Kwon will show us something in the upcoming opening game. If he builds up experience, he will lead our team to the championship in the next spring."

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com