World's top leagues swoop for Thailand's star spikers

sports July 07, 2012 00:00

By Preechachan Wiriyanupappong

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Azerbaijan have invited eight Thai players to compete in the pro Azerbaijan Super League, with each player set to earn about Bt2.5 million for the three-month competition.

Thailand Volleyball Association director Shanrit Wongprasert revealed that the 18-member Thai women’s volleyball team yesterday called on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House. Yingluck praised the team for their great performance in last week’s FIVB World Grand Prix in Ningbo, China, where they finished an impressive fourth among the world’s top 16 teams. PTT used the occasion to present Bt1.9 million to support the team’s future bids for success.

Shanrit said that last season, two Thai players, setter Nootsara Tomkom and libero Piyanut Pannoy, had impressed playing for Azerrail Baku in the Azerbaijan Super League. With the Thai team dazzling in several world-class tournaments and taking surprise wins over Serbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, China and Japan in the World Grand Prix, Azerbaijan have invited the starting line-up of eight members to play in their league next season, from December to April.
“They will play in different clubs and each player will receive an average of Bt2.5 million, though setter Nootsara Tomkom is expected to get around Bt4 million,” Shanrit said.
The eight players are Wilavan Apinyapong, Nootsara Tomkom, Amporn Hyapha, Malika Kanthong, Pleumjit Thinkaow, Onuma Sittirak, Wanna Buakaew and Piyanut Pannoy. The leagues of Italy and Japan have also expressed interested in Onuma and Pleumjit.
Shanrit added that next year, Thailand will host the 17th AVC Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, with 17 teams taking part.