Korean Air, a professional men’s volleyball team led by coach Tommy Tilikhainen, advanced to the quarterfinals at the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship, where Asia’s top clubs compete.
Korean Air has been participating in this competition held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, since the 14th. Initially, this period is when the leaders need to rest and heal their injuries after the fierce 2022-2023 season. However, Korean Air decided to participate in this tournament at the end of the season according to the will of coach Tilikhainen.
Upon hearing the news of participating in the tournament, Korean Air players were dubious. There were voices of concern that if you go on an overseas expedition forcibly at a time when you need to rest, you may get injured in a tired state and ruin the 2023-2024 season. Nonetheless, coach Tillikainen insisted on participating in the tournament. What is the reason?
Coach Tillikainen has experience in this tournament. Six years ago, in 2017, he made his debut through the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship after taking charge of the Japanese professional volleyball league team, Toyota Gosei (now Wolfdogs Nagoya’s predecessor). At that time, the team reached the final, but lost to Iranian volleyball team Sarmaye Banque Tehran and stayed in second place. Through this experience, director Tillikainen improved his understanding of the Asian stage.
Head coach Tillikainen, who returned to this stage after six years, is trying to stimulate the players. The Korean Air team, which achieved the achievement of three consecutive combined championships, could fall into conceit. Coach Tillikainen confided to the players that he wanted to get away from the Korean stage and show the team and players playing volleyball at a higher level.
This tournament is meaningful for Korean Air, which is aiming to create a new dynasty beyond the past Samsung Fire & Marine Dynasty. Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, which dominated Korean volleyball in the 1990s and 2000s, won the championship in 2000 and 2001. In particular, in 2001, Shin Jin-sik was selected as the best player by winning the unsilenced set.
Korean Air, which is trying to set an unprecedented record of 4 consecutive championships in Korean professional volleyball beyond Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, needs to prove that it is qualified to build a new dynasty through this tournament. Coach Tillikainen’s plan to upgrade Korean Air does not end here. Coach Tilly Kainen is preparing in advance for a new impetus to give to his players ahead of the 2023-2024 season.안전놀이터
The national volleyball team is flying to Korea from Finland, the home country of coach Tillikainen. The Finnish national team will set up a base camp in Korea for the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers to be held in Japan from late September to early October. Finland plans to prepare for the Olympic qualifiers by holding a practice match against Korean Air.
The practice match against Finland is expected to be a great stimulus for Korean Air players. South Korea’s men’s volleyball world ranking is 34th. As a result, Korea is unable to participate in the Olympic qualifiers where the top 24 countries participate. The clash with the Finnish players can be an opportunity for Korean Air players to experience the world level. Furthermore, athletes are expected to have a goal of experiencing the best stage of the Olympics.