Bangkok, Thailand, June 7, 2020 – As some Asian countries have gradually eased their lockdown restrictions with airports and transportation set to resume services soon, athletes started their training stints in preparation for major competitions in the not too distant future.

After nearly 11 weeks, China have had their lockdown lifted in a gradual and orderly manner, with people now returning to work. Wuhan, where the outbreak first began, also celebrated the end of its nearly three-month lockdown in April. The city’s exit from lockdown is part of a broader effort by Chinese officials to assure the public that life can return to normal and that authorities have beaten the deadly virus.

For China, the lockdown exit seems to be a slow return to normal life and various activities including sports are expected to begin the transition to more normal activities once again.

China is due to host two Asian Volleyball Championships later this year. The 20th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship, which will serve as the qualification tournament for the 2021 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship, will be held in Chongqing between August 30 and September 6, while Tianjin will organise the 2020 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship from September 10 to 17.

Aside from hosting Asian Championships this year, the China women’s volleyball team had already resumed their camp training in Beijing in April, aiming for better performances in tougher challenges in future tournaments including the next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, where they will be out to defend their crown, the 2020 Women’s VNL, of which the Finals will take place in China, and the 2020 Asian Senior Women’s Championship, which will serve as one of the qualification tournaments for the 2022 FIVB Women’s World Championship in Poland and the Netherlands.

However, the Chinese men’s team have dismissed the training and went back to their own clubs for the upcoming but delayed men’s league competition.

Zhu Ting and China head coach Lang Ping 

In Korea, the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) finally named centre Yang Hyo-jin of the Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate MVP in April. The KOVO’s 2019-2020 Volleyball League season ended earlier than expected due to the coronavirus. However, the league still voted for the MVP and after receiving 24 of the 30 votes Yang was named the regular season MVP on April 9.

In KOVO, Yang is the first player ever in the women’s league to exceed a career 5,500 points, currently at 5,562 and also the first to exceed 1,200 blocks, currently at 1,202. She’s also topped the league for 11 consecutive seasons providing that she’s not just this coronavirus-ravaged season’s MVP, but KOVO’s best centre in history.

Yang Hyo-jin

Along with KOVO, Yang has also been a crucial member for the Korean national women’s volleyball team competing at both the London and Rio Olympics and helped Korea for a spot at the Tokyo Olympics as well as the Asian Games and a number of FIVB events.

As baseball and soccer leagues have both been relaunched in Korea in May, it is expected that volleyball may also start to return behind closed doors over coming weeks. Thus, the Korean team will stand a chance of starting their intense training to get ready for more crucial events to come in the near future.

Thailand’s volleyball players during online training 

In Thailand, despite the lockdown restrictions, Thailand women’s national volleyball players underwent training during self-quarantine and isolation and started their online training from May 1 assisted by staff coaches. Although they had already sunk hopes on making it to the Tokyo Olympics, the Thai squad remain determined to perform better in crucial future tournaments including the AVC Cup for Women later this year in Chinese Taipei, the 2021 Asian Senior Women’s Championship and 2021 VNL. They had already begun their small group training sessions and are due to train their whole team from mid-June.

In India, although the country becomes the 6th most affected country hit by Covid19 outbreak, volleyball players have begun training in June 5 in several districts of Tamil Nadu, and the State association (TNSVA) is keen to get the government’s permission for players to practise at the Sivanthi Thidal inside the Nehru Stadium campus and the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.


Erika Araki to join Japan’s national women’s team roster

For Japan, the Japanese Volleyball Association released their 29-player women’s national team roster on January 27 for major competitions in 2020 including the Tokyo Olympics, which have now been postponed until 2021 due to the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, the Japanese Women’s V.League season has already been completed and the Japanese side started their training on February 4 for the VNL and the Tokyo Olympics. Yet both tournaments have already been called off until next year. However, with the second wave of Covid19 cases inevitable in the country, considering the Japan women’s national team to train intensively on a whole team for any major competition sounds a little futuristic as they firstly need the Covid19 situation to be resolved and return to normal.

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