Fighting Thais lose to Belgium in VNL
published : 19 Jun 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Thailand fought spiritedly against Belgium but still lost 3-1 in the Women's Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy, yesterday.
With only pride at stake, the Belgians defeated the Thais 25-23, 26-24, 23-25, 25-15 in their first match in the fifth and final week in the preliminary round of the 16-team tournament.
Britt Herbots scored 33 points for Belgium while Malika Kanthong made 16 points for Thailand.
After five weeks, the top-four teams advance to the semi-finals.
With yesterday's result, Thailand remain last with one win and 12 defeats while Belgium are 9-4.
The Thais play Canada today at 8pm Thai time and end their VNL campaign tomorrow against hosts Italy at 6pm.
Having beaten Germany for their only victory so far in the 2021 VNL, Thailand may be able to finish the tournament on a high note as Canada were 13th and Italy 15th at press time last night.
Thailand are led by the Fab Five -- Malika, Pleumjit Thinkaow, Onuma Sittirak, Nootsara Tomkom and Wilavan Apinyapong.
It is likely to be their last international tournament having played together for years.
Indeed, they were called up to the VNL squad only after a large number of players tested positive for Covid-19 a few weeks before the event began.
The Thailand Volleyball Association wants to build a young team in a bid to claim the country's first ever Olympic spot in the sport at Paris 2024.
The Fab Five came close to achieve the feat on a couple occasions.
Although Thailand's overall results in Rimini have been less than convincing, their performances have been praised by some opponents and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
"They always keep pushing and always smiling," Brazil star Gabi Guimaraes said after the team's win against the Thais earlier this week.