The dramatic 3-1 win over Thailand in a tense final match on May 24 sends off many positive signals in Vietnam’s strategy to boldly rejuvenate its current volleyball athlete roster, commented Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper.

The Vietnamese women’s team also secured the championship trophy of the 2014 VTV International Women's Volleyball Cup.

Vietnamese volleyball lovers had been waiting for a long time to witness once again animated matches replete with youth strength and they were rewarded at the recent VTV Cup, which took place in the Bac Ninh provincial gymnasium from May 17–24.

Rejuvenating the whole lineup around mainstays Do Thi Minh and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa, the national women’s team had proposed the modest target of playing to the best of their abilities and learning more from their opponents.

However, promising young talent accompanied by experienced veterans Thi Minh and Ngoc Hoa helped the team to fly high into the tournament by overcoming strong competitors from China, Kazakhstan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in both the qualifying and semi-final stages.

The Vietnamese women rolled past the Thailand youth team in four tense games of the final match on May 24 with scores of 25-23, 27-29, 27-25 and 27-25 to claim the championship title in a most convincing manner. Apart from the crown, the host team also snatched away many individual titles, with Nguyen Thi Ngoc named the best player of the tournament and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa voted as the best blocker.

As the overall winners, the Vietnam team walked away with 10,000 USD in prize money from the organising board and got another 520 million VND (24,440 USD) as a bonus from Vietnam Television (VTV), the Vietnam Volleyball Federation and other donors.

Runners-up Thailand received a cash prize of 7,000 USD, while another 5,000 USD was awarded to the DPRK, who ended up in third position after crushing Kazakhstan 3-0 in a third-place playoff.

Good preparation for 17th Asian Games

The women’s team, consisting of many young faces who competed in the recent VTV Cup, will join other teams in the Vietnam sports delegation in Incheon, Republic of Korea (RoK), this September for Asiad 17.

Usually, 16 out of the 45 countries and territories which participate in the Asiad competition field a women’s volleyball team at the event. With their seventh-place ranking in Asia, the possibility of making the podium seems to be small for the Vietnamese women as a top-four finish hardly ever escapes from the hands of Japan, China, RoK and Thailand, which have recorded strong volleyball developments.

Therefore, at the upcoming 17th Asiad, the main objective of the rejuvenated Vietnam women team is to accumulate experience in preparation for future long-term goals.

The recent VTV Cup competition in northern Bac Ninh province was very useful as it provided a good opportunity for the Vietnamese women to gain precious lessons of experience and define the abilities of their Asiad opponents in Incheon in four months’ time, including Kazakhstan, Thailand and the DPRK.

With the positive progress reflected by their VTV Cup performance, coach Nguyen Manh Hung and the members of the national women’s volleyball team are hoped to harvest the best results at the continent’s biggest sporting event of the year - the 17th Asiad.-VNA