Men’s volleyball team seeks Olympic spot at FIVB event

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Men’s volleyball team seeks Olympic spot at FIVB event

Korea will look to qualify for an Olympic men’s volleyball tournament for the first time in 20 years in the Netherlands this week.

Coached by Im Do-heon, Korea will compete in the FIVB Men’s Volleyball Intercontinental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Rotterdam starting on Friday.

Twenty-four teams have been divided into six groups of four, and the six group winners will qualify for next year’s Olympics. Others will have to go through their respective continental qualifiers early next year.

Korea will face host the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States in Group B.

Coming out on top in that group will be a tall order for Korea, the lowest-ranked team in the bunch at No. 24. The U.S. is No. 2, followed by Belgium at No. 12 and the Netherlands at No. 15.

The realistic goal may be to shore up team chemistry under the new coach. Im took over the reins on May 30 and opened a training camp a month later.

“If nothing else, we want to play as hard as we can for our fans,” Im said. “It won’t be easy against these tough teams, but I think our players will feed off fan support.”

Korea will first face the Netherlands at 4 p.m. Friday local time or 11 p.m. Friday in Seoul. The U.S. is up next at 2 a.m. Sunday in Korean Standard Time, followed by Belgium at 2 a.m. Monday in Seoul.

The Dutch squad will be led by the reigning Korean league scoring champion, Thijs ter Horst.

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