The Thai women’s volleyball team will be looking to win its second match after their inspired 3-2 upset of hosts Poland, when they take on Slovenia in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lodz on Friday.
Outside hitters Ajcharaporn Kongyot with 22 points and Wipawee Srithong with 17 paced the Thai attack in Wednesday evening’s match against the seventh-ranked Poles. The two sides were close in most statistical categories in a contest that lasted more than two hours and ended with the Thais winning 25-18, 7-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-12.
The Asian champions, ranked 14th in the world, have faced higher-ranked opposition in their first four matches, losing in straight sets to Germany and defending Olympic champions the USA and falling 3-1 to fifth-ranked Italy. But on Wednesday they managed to find another gear against a tough opponent.
Now their schedule gets easier, with matches against three sides that have yet to win any of their first four matches: Colombia (ranked 22nd), South Korea (36) and Slovenia (28). But all of those teams will also be looking to do some damage even if they don’t qualify for Paris 2024.
Seeking their first-ever Olympic berth, the Thai women are in the eight-team Pool C of the qualifying round.
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 USA and Italy are the three favourites to qualify.
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.
Friday’s match against Slovenia will begin at 7.30pm Thailand time and will be broadcast live on Workpoint TV Channel 23.