With the men’s team having reached the main draw in the final stop of the FIVB World Tour this week, Indonesia’s women are warming up for their turn at the Phuket Thailand Open.
Three national beach volleyball pairs will compete in the Country Quota playoffs for a place in the tournament. The two best teams from Tuesday’s playoffs will advance to qualifiers on Wednesday for the last eight spots in the 32-team main draw.
National women’s team coach Agus Salim said the emphasis was on preparing for the Southeast Asian Games, rather than succeeding in Thailand.
“I want the players to come up against as many sparring partners as they can during the tournament, including the top Thai pairs, our toughest opponents in the upcoming SEA Games,” he said on Friday.
The SEA Games are scheduled to take place from Dec. 9 to 18 in Vientiane, Laos.
Ayu Cahyaningsiam joins Devota Saveriana Rahawarin on Indonesia’s top team. Eva Sri Susilowati and Yokbeth Manisala Kapasiang make up the second team, while Riris Irawati teams up with Fitri Wijayanti as the third pair.
Agus said the teams needed a preview of prospective SEA Games opponents, particularly Ayu and Devota, who hope to reach the finals in Laos after missing out on the medal rounds at the 2007 Games in Thailand. Devota and Yokbeth played together at the previous SEA Games, as did Ayu and Eva.
The main draw in Phuket will contain Thailand’s top two pairs — Kamoltip Kulna and Yupa Phokongploy, and Jarunee Sannok and Usa Tenpaksee. Those two teams made the most of playing at home in the 2007 Games, setting up an all-Thailand final.
“I’m sure they’ve improved a lot since 2007 because they’ve played internationally more than our players have,” Agus said.
He added that he had high hopes for the country’s No. 1 duo, despite their lack of international experience.
“While in Phuket, I hope Ayu and Devota can win at least twice during the qualifying round,” he said.
Indonesia will send two men’s teams and two women’s teams to the SEA Games in December. Andy Ardiansyah and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro will lead the men’s side, with Suratna and Dian Putra Santosa taking the other spot.
On the women’s side, Yokbeth and Eva will take the No. 2 slot behind Ayu and Devota.