V League opens to more foreign players with expanded Asia Quota draft

From left: Reina Tokoku of the Heungkuk Life Insurance Pink Spiders, Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi of the Daejeon Jung Kwan Jang Red Sparks, Wipawee Srithong of Suwon Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate, Thanacha Sooksod of Gimcheon Korea Expressway Hi-Pass, Pornpun Guedpard of the Hwaseong IBK Altos, Iris Tolenada of GS Caltex Seoul Kixx and Mar-jana Phillips of the Gwangju AI Peppers pose for a photo during a media day at Hotel Riviera in southern Seoul on Oct. 12. [NEWS1]

Implemented ahead of the 2023-24 season, the system allows teams to add a second foreign player to their squad from selected Asian countries. Its expansion comes as both the men and women’s V Leagues have seen some success with the Asia Quota draft so far this season. In the men’s V League, Mongolian middle blocker Bayarsaikhan Batsukh of Ansan OK Financial Group Okman has shown a solid performance in defense and established himself as a regular pick. Asia Quota picks in the women’s V League have been impressive as well, including Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi of the Daejeon Jung Kwan Jang Red Sparks. Opposite hitter Mega’s impact on the court has been clearly visible as she has boosted the Red Sparks’ attack, scoring 377 points as the league’s fifth top scorer as of press time Wednesday.  
 
The expansion of the Asia Quota may be an opportunity for the V League and Korean volleyball to develop overall, as playing alongside or against Asia Quota picks could help the V League’s Korean players to learn skills they would not experience otherwise. Korean volleyball players who shone in the V League have fallen short in recent international tournaments. The women’s national team, consisting of aces Kang So-hwi of GS Caltex Seoul Kixx and Park Jeong-ah of the Gwangju AI Peppers, lost all 12 of their Volleyball Nations League games in July and failed to reach even the semifinals at the Hangzhou Asian Games in October. It was the first time the women’s national team had failed to medal at the Asiad since 2006. The men’s national team also failed to medal at this year’s Asiad. The 2024-25 Asia Quota draft will take place in April next year. Until then, V League teams will continue to be in action, with the Red Sparks facing Kixx on Thursday at 슬롯게이밍 7 p.m., the same time Okman play Suwon Kepco Vixtorm.

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