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Kim, Pereira to fight for ticket to final round in Tokyo Olympics

Kim, Pereira to fight for ticket to final round in Tokyo Olympics

Posted August. 06, 2021 07:26,   

Updated August. 06, 2021 07:26


To be the best of the best, you should defeat the best. As one of the four final competitors, the South Korean women’s volleyball team awaits a semi-final match with Brazil at 9 p.m. on Friday at Ariake Arena in Tokyo. After three failed attempts to reach the final round in the Olympics, the South Korean women’s volleyball team will have another shot at the ticket to the final round.

Brazil is the only team which has recorded six winnings running in Tokyo. The Brazilian women’s team achieved championship in the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games in a row. given the record against each other being 18 to 45, South Korea is inferior to Brazil. It has recently lost to Brazil twice in a row including the first tournament match by 0 to 3 of Group A.

Waiting for the semi-final match on Friday, South Korea and Brazil have nowhere to return to. Here is a story of two besties – Captains Kim Yeon-koung of South Korea and Natalia Pereira of Brazil who will compete against each other. Pereira has been one of Kim's best friends since they played together for Fenerbahce and Eczacibasi in the Turkish women's volleyball league. When Kim had a hard time adjusting to Eczacibasi right after her joining in the 2018-2019 season, she became part of them seamlessly and successfully in the following year when Pereira was transferred to Eczacibasi. Asked who would be the world's seven best players of her choice if she were a head coach, Kim mentioned Zhu Ting of China and Pereira of Brazil as the best left-sided players.

The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball published an article shedding light on the two top players’ friendship after South Korea and Brazil’s tournament match last month. When Kim and Pereira played in Turkey, they encouraged each other to overcome difficulties far away from home by enjoying Korean cuisine together. They are still in touch via chat, phone call, etc. Pereira showed support of Kim, saying that Kim is her closest volleyball colleague and she is and will be the best player.

In recognition that the South Korean women’s volleyball team miraculously made it to the semi-final, the Korea Volleyball Association announced on Thursday that it will provide an extra 100 million won in prize money added to the reward program released earlier. At first, it planned to award 500 million won for a gold, 300 million won for a silver, 200 million won for a bronze and 100 million won for the 4th place.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com