The first step for dreamers…the last was beautiful too

The end of ‘National Team Kim Yeon-kyung’ was beautiful. Kim Yeon-kyung (36-Hungkuk Life)It was beautiful.

Kim held a two-day national retirement ceremony. The Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium in Seoul held a national retirement game on the 8th and a new women’s volleyball all-star game on the 9th.

On the 8th, Kim played her national retirement match in a jersey with the Korean flag. Kim returned the jersey in 2021, but it took her three years to play her retirement match due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Team South Korea, led by Kim Yeon-kyung, faced off against her best friend Yang Hyo-jin’s Team Korea. It was a grand “volleyball festival” to celebrate the retirement of Kim Yeon-kyung, a longtime pillar of Korean volleyball. Kim, who has always been a jovial person, was moved to tears at the retirement ceremony after the match. “The moment I played a national match with the Korean flag, I was reminded of my childhood when I always dreamed of wearing the flag,” Kim said, adding, “I am truly grateful to everyone who honored me.”

On the 9th, a more global volleyball festival was held.

‘World Star’ Kim Yeon-kyung is a legendary player in the history of international volleyball. After making her senior national team debut in 2005, Kim led South Korea to two quarterfinal finishes at the London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics, spearheading the country’s golden age of women’s volleyball. Beyond the V-League, she has long been one of the world’s top attackers in overseas leagues in Japan, Turkey, and China. FIVB President Ari Grassa honored Kim in a video tribute to her retirement match, calling her “a great role model for millions of people around the world and one of the greatest players in the history of volleyball.”

The All-Star Game featured Korean players Kim Yeon-kyung, Kim Soo-ji, Yeom Hye-sun, and Lee Myung-ok, as well as top international players such as 토토사이트 Sheila Castro (Brazil), Miyu Nagaoka (Japan), and Pleumjit Tinkaow (Thailand), who competed in two teams, Team Star and Team World. Kim Yeon-kyung’s Team Star was led by former Korea Women’s National Volleyball Team head coach Cesar Hernandez, while Team World was led by Marcello Avondanza of Heungkuk Saengsaeng, a women’s V-League team of which Kim Yeon-kyung is a member.

It was an event game where the outcome didn’t matter, but the players played their hearts out and rewarded the fans for their support. Kim Yeon-kyung continued her strong play, scoring 12 points to lead Team Star to a 70-68 victory. Kim celebrated as if she had just won an international tournament. After the game, Kim said, “I’m grateful for the invitation and the Korean players who came to Korea,” and promised, “I’ll do my best to prepare for such an event next year.” Anna Lazareva (RUS), who played against Kim at Team Worlds, praised Kim, saying, “She is a great legend in the volleyball world,” and that “everyone tries to be like her.”

Prior to the All-Star Game, Kim held a ceremony to launch the KYK Foundation, named after the initials of her name. “I’ve always dreamed of starting a foundation to help develop youth sports,” Kim said, “I want to have a positive impact on sports as a whole, and when youth sports develop, professional leagues and national teams will develop.” The foundation will not only focus on volleyball, but will also find and actively help youth who cannot play their favorite sport due to family circumstances.

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