Three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly believes the Philippines has a bright future in volleyball, citing a national passion for the sport.
Kiraly, in Manila to attend the opening of the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix Saturday, said local players may lack height, speed or power but their fighting spirit and willingness to improve are just as key in the country's dreams of becoming world contenders.
Kiraly, head coach of the US women's national volleyball team, compared the Philippines with Japan and Thailand.
“Those teams don’t have particularly tall players, but they have this great fighting spirit and really good floor skills and the ability to put the ball where they exactly needs to go so they can overcome a lot," Kiraly said. "You don’t have to be the world’s tallest players to have the best volleyball team.”
The University of California-Los Angeles alumnus coach the US to the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Kiraly won a pair of Olympic gold medals in indoor volleyball and another gold in the beach volleyball, becoming only the fourth player to win Olympic medals both as a player and as a coach.
He was also awarded as FIVB Best Player in the World in 1986 and 1988 as well as FIVB Best Player of the 20th Century, enough to be inducted into the FIVB Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
“I’m excited to be here because you hosted the World Club Championship last year, and we had a number of American players on those teams. They really had a great time here,” Kiraly said.
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