Posted October. 31, 2010 05:17,
Beach volleyball is a rather obscure sport in Korea.
Though the country has competed in international championships since 1991, it lacks professional teams or players that can hold their own in the global arena.
In the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, the first time the sport was selected as an official game, Korea had to give up competing due to lack of budget and zero possibility of winning a medal.
In the 2002 Busan Asiad, Korea hastily assembled a team as the host country but saw horrendous results. The country did not even send a team to the 2006 Doha Asian Games.
The Korea Beach Volleyball Federation, which separated from the Korea Volleyball Association in 2004, has rolled up its sleeves for the Guangzhou Asian Games next month.
For starters, the federation hosted an international beach volleyball tournament in Busan. In July, it selected players for the national team to compete in Guangzhou. After a heated competition among 38 teams, two consisting of two players each were selected for each gender.
The players were all from university or amateur business teams. This time, however, they no longer consider beach volleyball a temporary passion.
Their training site is Koreas sole beach volleyball court shared by the mens and womens teams on an alternate day basis. Due to lack of sponsorship, players conduct weight training with their original teams and gather at the court for joint training.
Were fortunate that we can train even this much, said national team coach Kim Kyung-woon, who also coaches Hongik University in Seoul. Im concerned about player morale.
China, Japan and Thailand are the top three Asian powers in beach volleyball, and Korea might find it hard to even win one game. Korean players have good physique, however, so they have a chance of winning a medal if they can quickly adapt to the sand.
People have a strong bias against this sport, thinking only about bikinis and summer, said national team member An Tae-young. I know it wont be easy but Ill do my best to attract attention to beach volleyball.