Bluefangs’ Park Chul-woo gets his 5,000th career pointPark Chul-woo of the Daejeon Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Bluefangs finished the year with a new record, becoming the first male player in the Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) to score 5,000 career points.
Despite the achievement, Park wasn’t really in the mood to celebrate as the Bluefangs lost their last match of the year 3-1 against the Seoul Woori Card Wibee at Jangchung Arena in Seoul on Dec. 31. If the Bluefangs had won the match, they would have moved up to third in the league.
During the match, Park, who only needed seven more points to pass the 5,000 threshold, scored 31 points to become the first male player in the KOVO to reach the milestone. Before Park, Hwang Youn-joo of the Suwon Hyundai E&C was the only other player in Korean professional volleyball to reach 5,000 career points.
“I am very grateful for the record,” Park said. “I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to win on the last day of the year, more than achieving 5,000 career points. On special occasions, our matches don’t work out very well. The remaining matches are more important. In our first match of the year, against the Korean Air Jumbos on Friday, I’ll concentrate more.”
Right after graduating from Kyungpook National University High School, Park joined the Cheonan Hyundai Capital Services Skywalkers in 2004. Although the Skywalkers were founded in 1983, the club only became a professional team in 2005. Due to this, Park made his KOVO debut in 2005 and played 14 seasons with the Skywalkers.
“When I achieved 3,000 career points, 5,000 felt like a long way to go,” Park said. “Honestly, at first I didn’t think of it as a big deal because I thought it was a record that stacked up as I got older. This somewhat feels like a decoration, but since I’m the first ever, I’m grateful.”
After completing his military service, Park’s performance improved immensely. Right after he was discharged, before the 2016-17 season, Park lowered his body fat percentage to as low as two to three percent. But at first, losing too much weight wasn’t the best decision as it also made him weaker.
“My body felt heavy so I lost my weight to 89 kilograms (196 pounds),” Park said. “So I got tired after the second set. But now, I don’t feel tired even though I gained weight because I also gained muscle mass. Now, I weight about 94 to 95 kilograms and 7 to 8 percent body fat. I think that’s good.”
Now that Park has reached 5,000 career points, the next big milestone to aim for is 10,000: but he’s more interested in helping out his team.
“It’ll be possible if I play for the next 12 to 13 years,” Park said. “I’ll have to slowly stack up the points for the team. Until I can, I want to do my best.”
This season, Park plays as an opposite, one of the more competitive spots among domestic and foreign players. In the men’s league, notable players like Kim Yo-han and Moon Sung-min had to give away their positions to foreign players. Due to this, Park is not an exception in competing for the opposite position.
“Foreign players play the right side most of the time,” Park said. “I know it can change depending on the head coach’s decision. I can prepare to play in any positions and I’m ready to challenge myself. I’m just happy to play volleyball.”
BY KIM HYO-KYUNG [email@example.com]