South Korea captain Kim Yeon-koung sets Olympic medal as career goal, hopes to become next Lang Ping

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-19 15:41:09|Editor: huaxia
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Kim Yeon Koung of South Korea competes during the Round Robin match between Japan and South Korea at the 2019 FIVB Women's World Cup in Yokohama, Japan, Sept. 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

South Korea captain Kim Yeon-koung is aiming at an Olympic medal and hopes to become next Lang Ping.

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea captain Kim Yeon-koung is believed to be one of the best outside spikers in the world. With multiple club and individual awards on her resume, Kim told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that her career goal is winning an Olympic medal.

South Korea was only one step away from the podium finishing fourth at the 2012 Olympic Games when Kim was named MVP and best scorer.

"When I was playing in the club, I had many champions, and I also got many [individual] awards. I am playing with strong teams, for sure we'll be successful if I try my best," said the title holder of South Korean, Japanese and Turkish leagues.

"But with the national team, we are not very strong, so I want to be strong in the national team. Tokyo 2020 maybe the last Olympics for me, so I really want to go to the Olympics in Tokyo. I want to get one medal from the Olympics, this is my goal for my career," the 31-year-old said.

Kim Yeon Koung (front) of Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul celebrates scoring during the 3-4 final match between Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul of Turkey and Praia Clube of Brazil at the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship in Shaoxing, east China's Zhejiang province, Dec. 9, 2018. Eczacibasi Vitra Istanbul won 3-0. (Xinhua/Weng Xinyang)

Unable to secure a ticket in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifications in August, Kim is now spearheading South Korea at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup in Japan, where she hopes the team could get ready for a come-back next year.

"This tournament is important for us to prepare for the regional qualifiers in January. This is why we are changing many players, to play with different line-ups, different style," said Kim, who was benched for the game against Russia on Wednesday. "We are trying many different things in this tournament for the Olympic qualifiers and I hope it works."

Kim now has one year left on her contract with Eczacibasi Vitra, where she lifted the Turkish Volleyball Cup and Super Cup while finished runner-up in the league. For the free agent in 2020, whether South Korea makes it to the Olympics is an important factor how she weighs her future.

"Maybe I want to come back to Asia, maybe I'll stay in Europe, I don't know. (It) also depends on we are going to Tokyo Olympics or not. So I hope that we'll make the Olympics first, and I want to decide afterwards."

China is among her future destination choices after she played for Chinese league side Shanghai in the 2017-18 season where they finished runner-up. Kim was named best foreign player of the season.

"Playing in China is amazing, always. When I go to play with the national team, I go to many places, there are always a lot of fans supporting me. I always like playing in China. When I was playing in Shanghai, I was feeling like at home, because the teammates, coaches, the fans, everybody was welcoming me. It's really great to play there. If I had an opportunity, maybe I would like to play again in China,"

As for life after retirement, Kim pictures herself as a coach and eyes to be like Chinese head coach Lang Ping, who has a decorated career both as player and coach.

"After volleyball, maybe I want to be coach, and maybe one day I can be like Lang Ping in China, also I want to be like this," Kim said.