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Kim Yeon-koung ponders return to South Korean league

Posted June. 03, 2020 07:32,   

Updated June. 03, 2020 07:32


Kim Yeong-koung, captain of the South Korean national volleyball team, reportedly inquired about the process of coming back to the South Korean league to Heungkuk Life, the last South Korean team she played for, and the Korea Volleyball Federation (KOVO). This is the first time Kim, who has played in overseas leagues such as Turkey and China for more than 10 years, has mentioned her return.

The South Korean volleyball player has become a free agent after her two-year contract with the Turkish club Eczacıbaşı VitrA came to an end. She has been searching for a new team preferably in Europe and China, but it has not been easy due to current circumstances. It is still uncertain when the Turkish or Italian leagues will reopen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some clubs have reached out to her, they have not been able to suggest a concrete deal. The Chinese league does not yet have a detailed plan either as its fixtures are set around the schedule of the national team. The salary might decrease if seasons are shortened.

The Olympic Games, which could be her last, is also an important factor because getting ready for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which have been postponed to next year, is crucial for her. “Playing alongside the world’s best players will help prepare me for the Olympics,” said Kim when she went back to Turkey after playing in China. She has recently said that she is looking for a team that can take care of her health and help bring out the best performance rather than one that pays well. Given the coronavirus crisis that has been unfolding across the world, South Korea stands out as a great place to take care of oneself.

“What Kim thinks is the most important,” said a source from Heungkuk Life. “There will be further discussion if she decides to return.” What decision would she make? Kim Yeong-koung said she would make the decision by the end of June at the latest.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com