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Hyundai Capital, Walking on the Clouds

Posted February. 20, 2007 06:49,   


‘Your Happiness is My Sorrow’-

Shin, Chi-yong, 52, the coach of Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance professional volleyball team, and Kim, Ho-cheol, 52, the coach of Hyundai Capital professional volleyball team, are old friends who have known each other for 40 years. However, on the volleyball court, they are archrivals.

During the last season of the Volleyball League or V-League, Samsung lost to Hyundai, missing the chance to achieve the tenth winning streak, including the Super League, in the winter season by the narrowest margins. Coach Shin of Samsung firmly decided at the beginning of this season that he would restore the title by recruiting a taller mercenary than Hyundai’s Sean Rooney (25, 206cm, USA) because he firmly believed height is an important factor in volleyball. Then, he hired Leandro da Silva, (24, 208cm, Brazil).

Samsung won the first three matches with Hyundai thanks to Leandro. He emerged as a “monster on the court”, responsible for more than 50 percent of team offence.

Kim didn’t stay complacent. He called Andrea Doto, a physical trainer from Italy at the end of January to improve Rooney’s condition, who was exhausted after playing beach volleyball during the off-season. Then, Hyundai came from behind to beat Samsung by 3-2 on January 11th, signaling the beginning of a revenge match.

Hyundai defeated Samsung by 3 to 1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20) taking advantage of “teamwork” as well as “height” in the 2006-2007 Hill Sate professional V-league held in the second Olympic Stadium in Seoul on Monday. Sean Rooney (24 points), Song In-seok (14 points), Lee Seon-kyu (11 points), and Hu In-jeong (11 points) made Samsung helpless, though Leandro fought hard. Hyundai made only 20 mistakes while Samsung made 27 including 12 by Leandro alone. Hyundai Capital (17 wins 5 losses) won five matches in a row chasing close to Samsung (17 wins 4 losses).

So far, Samsung Fire Insurance had dominated men’s volleyball games but as Hyundai Capital emerges as a rival to Samsung, the popularity of volleyball is soaring. On Monday, the Hyundai-Samsung match drew 7,100 people. The rival match on February 11 attracted 8,700. The first match held on December 24 last year drew 7,300 people and the second and third matches attracted 3,500 and 5,100, respectively.

Lee Se-ho, a professor of Kangnam University and sports anchor of KBS, said, “The rival matches between Hyundai Capital and Samsung Fire Insurance have greatly contributed to the recent increase in the popularity of volleyball. The unpredictable matches are attracting fans’ attention.”