Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, September 19, 2017 – Volleyball hits a fever pitch in Thailand again on Wednesday when Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium, the competition site for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018 Asian Qualifiers Pool B encounters between September 20 and 24, was packed to its full capacity of 4,000 seaters since the opening day of the top-flight competition.
Korea, DPR Korea, Iran, Vietnam and hosts Thailand are competing in the single round-robin tournament and only the top two teams from this Pool B will make the cut for the next year’s Japan Finals from September 29 to October 20, 2018.
Hosts province Nakhon Pathom, which lies about 65 kilometre west of Thailand’s capital city Bangkok, is well-known for one of the most important landmarks in Thailand, the giant Phra Pathom Chedi. Most of the tourists spend their weekend with all major sights and activities in the province. However, since it was a working day, no one has initially expected that the competition venue will be fully packed. Above all, to reach the venue is not that convenient, particularly for those who are not driving. However, to the organisers’ big surprise, the venue was packed on Wednesday, with all tickets sold out earlier despite the news report that some 900 tickets are still up for grabs in front of the venue on Wednesday, the very first day of the tournament.
Credits of the volleyball phenomenon and success of the public relations campaign for the tournament went to Channel 3, the hosts TV broadcaster which has launched its “Tob Phue Chart, Cheer Phue Thai” (Spike for the Country, Cheer for Thailand) campaign. Even leading actors and actresses of Channel 3 such as Nadech Kugimiya, Mak Parin and Bella Ranee Campen have been invited to help on the public relations campaign for the Channel 3’s live broadcast of the tournament.
Channel 3 also holds volleyball activities outdoor in front of the competition venue everyday, inviting fans to play games with actors and actresses, with free admission tickets on offer. Vendors set up temporary stalls to sell cheering equipments, tournament souvenirs, photos of players and sports uniforms and everything is selling like hotcakes.
Some fans reportedly said that they have arrived at the venue since 5am to queue up for buying tickets, but many left in disappointment with no more tickets available. More than 5,000 fans arrived at the venue on Wednesday. As around 4,000 have been seated to cheer on their teams inside the venue, hundreds without tickets have to watch live matches on a giant screen established in front of the gymnasium,
It is expected that on the final day on September 24, a large number of fans will arrive at the gymnasium to boost the home players’ morale when Thailand are due to take on Korea in one of the most thrilling matches in the tournament. Thailand stunned the world No.10 in straight sets at the last month’s Asian Senior Women’s Championship in the Philippines.
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