Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 6, 2016 – Superstar Kim Yeon Koung blasted 28 points leading Korea a 3-1 (19-25, 25-15, 25-17, 25-21) victory over Japan in the Asian battle that opened the women’s volleyball tournament at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Pool A.
Yang Hyo Jin contributed 13 points in the win, including four blocks and four aces, and Lee Jaeyeong added 10. Miyu Nakaoda topped Japan wih 19 points, while Saori Kimura and Yuki Ishii finished with 11 and 10, respectively, in the loss.
Japan dominated the first set with well located serves, including two consecutive aces by Shimamura to put their side out of reach at 20-13. A spike by Shimamura closed the actions.
Korea played amazing defence to overwhelm their opponents in the second set behind the offense of Kim Yeon, who scored with six of her spikes.
The score was closed until halfway in the third set when Korea broke away. Yang scored three of the last four points for Korea in the third set, including two aces.
In the fourth set, Japan came back to close the score with two aces in a row by Saori Sakoda but Korea closed out the actions with a spike by Yang.
Kim Yeon Kuong, Captain of Korea: Japan are known for their strong defense so we concentrated in our strong serves and blocking and the other part of our offence. I am happy because we tried very hard to prepare for this tournament. I hope we continue playing like this.
Lee Jung Chul, Coach of Korea: It was our first game and we started struggling a little bit but then we were able to recover and managed to conclude with the victory.
Saori Kimura, Captain of Japan: It was our first match and against our Asian opponent. The first set was very good for us but then we made too many mistakes. The good thing is that we have more matches to recover.
Masayoshi Manabe, Coach of Japan: As our captain Kimura said we made too many mistakes and need to improve in our next matches. The key for those mistakes was, first the players were a little bit nervous but also Korea pressed with their very strong serves and our reception was bad.
More from Kim Yeon Kuong:
On her leadership in the team:
“I am a different player now because I’ve had a lot of experience playing overseas like in Europe and Japan, so now I can help the team because they are young. Now I can speak to them and this really helped me to improve my personality and our play.”
On her goals for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games:
“We want to take a medal, but I do not want to think about it right now. I want to take it one match at a time. We play Russia in the next match. They are really tall and they have really good spikers, so we have to prepare well for them.”
On being the top scorer for the team:
“I don’t really think about top scoring, I just want to win. I think that we won today because I got a lot of help from my team-mates and that’s how it should be.”