Thai captain Pornpun Guedpard celebrates as her team starts the VNL on the right foot

A brilliant performance by Ajcharaporn Kongyot paved the way to a first victory for Thailand in the opening match of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League on Tuesday in Ankara, Turkey.

The Asians dominated Bulgaria to a straight-set (25-20, 25-22, 25-20) win and claimed all three points in play, securing a positive start to their VNL campaign.

· All VNL 2022 matches will be streamed live on Volleyball TV.

The 26-year-old Kongyot was a reliable and steady point-scorer for the Thais and was the first player to score 20 points in a match in the 2022 VNL with 17 kills, two blocks and one ace.

“We feel very happy to have won our first VNL match,” Kongyot said after the match. “We’ve trained so much because we are a shorter team and we tried to do our best when blocking and playing defence. We’re really happy to be playing in the VNL and to have performed like we did today.”

The outside hitter, who has been with the team since 2012 and spent the last club season in Turkey, could become one of the faces of the new Thai generation, following the retirement of the country’s ‘Fab Six’ Pleumjit Thinkaow, Wilavan Apinyapong, Nootsara Tomkom, Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong and Amporn Hyapha last year.

Other key players in the Thai win were Moksri Chatchu-On, who produced 13 points (11 kills and two blocks), and opposite Pimpichaya Kokram, who scored 12, firing a match-high three aces to go with seven kills and two blocks.

On the Bulgarian side, Gergana Dimitrova and Nasya Dimitrova combined for 23 points, with the 26-year-old outside hitter producing 13 (12 kills, one block) and the 29-year-old middle blocker adding another ten with nine kills and one block.

The Thais were stronger at the net, outscoring the Bulgarians in kills (47-44) and blocks (8-3)

Thailand and Bulgaria will both have a one-day break before they return to the court on Wednesday. The Asians will face reigning world champions Serbia at 13.00 local time (10.00 GMT) while the Europeans will meet the Netherlands at 16.00 local time (13.00 GMT).

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