Thailand start VNL journey against US
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Thailand start VNL journey against US

Thailand players celebrate after scoring a point during a match last year.
Thailand players celebrate after scoring a point during a match last year.

Thailand will begin their FIVB Volleyball Women's Nations League 2024 campaign with a match against United States in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday.

Middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang will captain the team as they face Olympic champions United States, world champions Serbia, Canada and South Korea in Pool 2 in Rio.

The other members of the squad are Piyanut Pannoy, Supatra Pairoj, Pornpun Guedpard, Natthanicha Jaisaen, Hattaya Bamrungsuk, Jarasporn Bundasak, Pimpichaya Kokram, Chatchu-on Moksri, Thanatcha Suksod, Wipawee Srithong, Sasipaporn Janthawisut, Wimonrat Thanapan and Donphon Sinpho.

The team are without outside hitter Ajcharaporn Kongyot, due to illness. She is replaced in the 14-member squad by Donphon, who can play as both setter and outside hitter.

Guaranteed a place in the top eight of the 2024 tournament as the host country of the 2024 Finals, Thailand, led by new coach Nataphon Srisamutnak, will be aiming to produce their best result in the tournament this year.

Nataphon, who was hired to replace Danai Sriwatcharamethakul, will have former national team players Wilavan Apinyapong and Wanna Buakaew as his assistants.

While Thailand could use the preliminary phase to prepare the team ahead of the Finals in Bangkok, they are still involved in the race to qualify for the Olympics in Paris and will try to get good results in the first weeks of action to keep their dream alive.

After the Rio leg, Thailand's campaign will continue in Asia, with matches against the Dominican Republic, France, China and Brazil in Macau in week two. The preliminary phase will come to an end for Thailand in Hong Kong, where they are scheduled to play against defending champions Turkey, Bulgaria, Poland and Germany.

This season will mark just the second time that Thailand appear in the VNL Finals as they qualified in 2022, but lost in the quarter-finals, finishing eighth. In the other four editions, the Thais finished 12th in 2019, 14th in 2023, 15th in 2018 and 16th in 2021. bangkok post/

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