“It’s a great honor to have the last chance to win gold at the Asian Games,” said Han (37, Korean Air) as he walked to the bus with ice on his knee, which has a history of injuries, “and I don’t feel any pain.”
Han will be competing in his fourth Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The Korean men’s volleyball team, which has been taking chances on younger players, has included the veteran Han in its squad ahead of the Hangzhou Asian Games, where it needs to produce results.
Han led the juniors in a local acclimatization training session at the Linping Sports Center in Hangzhou, China, on Aug. 18, with a cheerful expression and “playful reprimands.
“He took good care of his body,” said Lim Do-heon, the national team’s head coach, with a smile on his face, “and although we didn’t have enough time to get to know each other, he is a very experienced player, so he quickly adapted to the current national team.”
Korea’s men’s volleyball team, ranked 27th in the world, finished fourth at the Asia Challenge Cup, where Japan (fifth) and China (29th) were absent, and fifth at the Asian Volleyball Championship, which featured Japan and China.
The Hangzhou Asian Games is a chance for Korea’s men’s volleyball team to restore its pride. At the same time, there is a sense of urgency that the team’s streak of 14 consecutive medals from Bangkok 1966 to Jakarta-Palembang 2018 could come to an end.
Han leaned toward restoring pride.
“The volleyball is round,” he said, “and the nature of the Asian Games, with single-elimination matches after the preliminary rounds, often produces upsets. I hope we will be the protagonists of the upset this time.”
Han won a bronze medal as a backup setter at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and a bronze medal as a starting setter at the 2014 Incheon Games. At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, she was a key contributor to the team’s silver medal.
Despite growing calls for a generational change in the national team, and the lingering effects of injuries, Han hasn’t worn the Taeguk mark in recent international competitions, but he remains one of the best setters in South Korea.
He was also the Most Valuable Player of the 2022-2023 V-League Men’s Division.
In the face of growing disappointment with the Korean men’s national volleyball team, Han willingly accepted the role of “firefighter.
“I’m very grateful to still be wearing the Korean flag in my late 30s,” he said, adding, “I try my best in every game, but international competitions are a little different. I’m going to give it my best shot.”
Considering Han’s age, this is likely to be his last Asian Games.
“I have another chance to win a gold medal. I really want to win gold this time,” he said, adding, “I hope this will translate into results.” He is eager to win his first individual Asian Games title. 토토사이트