SIBU: Malaysia are aiming for a top 10 finish at the Asian Under-18 Junior women’s volleyball tournament.According to Malaysian Volleyball Association (Mava) assistant secretary Md Nordin Salim, the association did not set a higher target because all the players were new and did not have much experience in tournaments up to that level, coupled with the strong challenge posed by the other teams taking part.
Therefore, he said, it was unrealistic to set a higher target for the players, as this would exert enormous pressure on them.
“But, we would be expecting to deliver a better result at the same tournament next year, because most of the current players are expected to remain in the team and with the experience they’ve gained from all kinds of tournaments, coupled with hard training, we could set a target of a semi-final berth for them.”
He said most of the players were 16 years old now and could play for two to three more years at least.
Nordin was speaking during a dinner held for the players of the national U-18 women’s squad here recently.
The dinner was hosted by Federation of Volleyball Associations of Sarawak chairman William Ting.
The team will be undergoing a three-and-a-half month centralised training in Sibu right after the Chinese New Year before heading for the tournament, which will be held from May 18-28 at Cheras Badminton Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.
A total of 15 countries will be taking part in the tournament, including traditional powerhouses like Korea and Japan.
Meanwhile, Federation of Volleyball Associations of Sarawak deputy president Dr Gregory Hii advised the squad to train hard to achieve the best result possible.
In his opinion, they should try to train for five to six hours per day, because it was the time span that players from strong teams usually would train before going into any tournament of high level.
“You are selected to represent our country and that is something you should be proud of, but you must not be too complacent. Instead, you should try to raise your standard, in order to get to the top.”
He also advised them to prepare themselves physically and mentally in order to be able to cope with the challenges during the tournament.
To achieve the best possible result, the three parties that made up a team must cooperate, he said, referring to officials, coaches and players.
“They are the ingredients to success, such as what the Sarawak women’s volleyball team had achieved all this while.
“We have been able to squeeze into the top three in volleyball in all the Sukma that we had participated in and most of the times, we emerged champions,” enthused Dr Hii.