The happiness of being able to play on the court far outweighed the pressure of the first international competition for a promising player who was waiting for an opportunity. And he showed it through his performance.
Song Min-geun was selected by Korean Air in the 7th place in the 1st round in the last 2022-2023 V-League Rookie Draft. He played an active role as a libero representing college volleyball during his middle school days and even added the title of first rounder, but as the season began, opportunities for Song Min-geun to play seldom came. He only played in 1 match and 3 sets. Oh Eun-ryeol was holding out as the starter libero, and it was not easy for Korean Air to actively give Song Min-geun, an unfinished stand-by, a chance as they had to ‘win-now’ to win the combined championship for three consecutive years.
An opportunity came to Song Min-geun, who was waiting for the moment to go out on the court. It was the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Men’s Club Volleyball Championship. Head coach Tommy Tillikainen revealed the purpose of making this tournament a place for young players to grow and develop, and Song Min-geun was one of those players.
And Song Min-geun made good use of the opportunity that finally came. Song Min-geun, who started the match against the Canberra Heat (Australia) on the 14th (hereafter local time), the first game of the tournament, was mainly put into defense and led the cheers of the Koreans who visited the stadium with a digro throwing his whole body. Together with Oh Eun-ryeol, who was in charge of receiving, he helped the team win by keeping the team back.
In response to an interview with <The Spike> on the morning of the 15th, the day after the game, Song Min-geun first conveyed his short impressions, saying, “It was my first game in Bahrain, and I was happy to decorate it with a victory.” Regarding being used in a defensive situation, “My receive still lacks (Oh) Eun-ryeol’s older brother. Right now, I like getting on the court, so I didn’t pay much attention to what my role was.”
Head coach Tillikainen had already included Song Min-geun in the tournament’s plan even before the start of the tournament. Song Min-geun said, “The coach said from before that he would give me many opportunities in Bahrain. He couldn’t play much during the season, so he decided to show me my skills that I hadn’t shown before in Bahrain.” When asked to evaluate his performance in the first game, he said, “It was nice to have all the balls in my hands. However, I think I need to do better at the part of floating it in a more delicate position.”
When asked if he had experience in international competitions, Song Min-geun answered, “It’s my first time at all.” However, when I came to the field, other teams were serious about the tournament to the extent that they brought in short-term loan players. Seeing that, I also felt more weight about the competition, and I felt that I had to work harder.”
If so, does Song Min-geun not have any major difficulties living in Bahrain? Unfortunately (?) Song Min-geun was going through various hardships. Song Min-geun, who asked the opposite question, “Does local food suit your taste?” said, “I don’t like local food. I can’t eat anything other than French fries and cake. I’m taking good care of it,” he said with a bolmen sound.
It wasn’t just this. Song Min-geun was also suffering from noise between floors. “(Son) Hyeonjong and my brother are roommates, and both of them are having a hard time because the people staying on the upper floor are too noisy. By 5:00 in the morning, the children are still running around. I endured it and then I asked the manager to let me restrain myself a little bit.” Due to these situations, she was worried that she might have a problem with her physical condition, but Song Min-geun said, “Fortunately, there is no problem with her physical condition. Rather, it is better than when I was in Korea (laughs),” she said in a spirited voice. 안전놀이터
Koreans living in Bahrain visited the stadium during the match against the Canberra Heat and enthusiastically cheered the Korean Air players with a large national flag. Song Min-geun expressed his sincere thanks, saying, “I was so grateful that he came and cheered us on because we were playing in Bahrain.” Also, to Korean Air fans who cheered in Korea through Internet live, “Thank you very much for watching the game even though it is late in Korea time. I will work harder and try to win. I did not forget to say thank you.
Concluding the interview, Song Min-geun said, “I will do well in the role given to me in the remaining games. And above all, I hope that all players will not get hurt.” Song Min-geun is taking advantage of the precious opportunity that has come to him with a confident and responsible attitude. I am curious to see how much he will grow in the remaining games.