The Thai women’s volleyball team fell in straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-20) to Germany in the opening match of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lodz, Poland on Saturday.
The Asian champions, ranked 14th in the world, were competitive in all three sets against their opponents, who are ranked one place higher, but the matches are only going to get tougher as the tournament continues.
On Sunday Thailand will meet the defending Olympic champions the United States, currently ranked second in the world behind Turkey.
The statistics from Saturday’s contest showed both sides quite evenly matched, but the Germans held a significant edge in blocks, 9-4 over Thailand. Thailand’s scorers were led by outside hitter Chatchu-On Moksri with 15 points, followed by Pimpichaya Kokram and Ajcharaporn Kongyot with 13 each.
Seeking their first-ever Olympic berth, the Thai women are in the eight-team Pool C of the Sept 16-24 qualifying round for Paris 2024.
A total of 24 teams are competing in three pools this week, with the Pool A matches taking place in Japan and the Pool B competition in China.
Pool C consists of Thailand, hosts Poland, the USA, 2022 Nations League winners Italy, Germany, Colombia, South Korea and Slovenia.
All inside the FIVB top seven, Poland, the United States and Italy are the three favourites to qualify, but some other teams have the potential to be dark horses.
Only 12 countries will make it into the Olympic volleyball tournament. The top two teams in each of the three pools will earn tickets to Paris. Hosts France already have an automatic place, and the remaining five places will be filled based on rankings following the first phase of the Volleyball Nations League 2024.
Sunday’s Thailand-USA match will start at 7.30pm Thailand time and will be broadcast live on Workpoint TV Channel 23.
Pimpichaya Kokram in action in the opening match of the Thailand-Germany Olympic qualifying match in Lodz, Poland on Saturday. (Photo: Volleyballworld.com)