Despite the disappointing results and Mushalski’s vitriol, Jeong Ji-seok found things to gain. And he wanted to share them with his juniors as well.
Korean Air finished the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in 7th place. Korean Air, who played a total of 7 matches, recorded 4 wins and 3 losses. It was a competition to accumulate various experiences rather than winning, but it is true that there are some regrets left.
Jeong Ji-seok, who met with <The Spike> on the 21st local time after all the games, felt the same way. Jeong Ji-seok, who first said, “I have a lot of regrets,” said, “Since it was the first club-level international competition, it seems that everyone had a good experience. He felt and learned a lot in all areas, including performance and mindset. If we had worked with 100% of our strength, I think we would have made it to the finals unconditionally. so it’s more pity But this time, the goal was to gain experience, so it’s okay. If there is a next opportunity, I think we should prepare more thoroughly and come out.”
He asked Jeong Ji-seok what specific things he felt and learned. Jeong Ji-seok first mentioned the internal part of the game. Jeong Ji-seok, who said, “I felt that it was necessary to calmly aim for the next opportunity rather than be choked up to score in a situation that seemed impossible.” In my head, I originally knew that this was important, but when I came here, there were other teams that did better than us in this area.”
Then, Jung Ji-seok continued to talk about what he felt outside of the game. Jung Ji-seok said, “I thought that my role was to help my juniors develop by persuasively conveying my thoughts on ‘good volleyball, good volleyball’. So this time, to (Yu) Kwang-woo hyung, ‘I will lead the players. Hyung said, “You can focus only on running the game, so leave it to me.” However, it was really not easy to play that role,” he said honestly.
Still, Jung Ji-seok said, “I thought it was essential for a player to play the role of leading the team alone, but I think I spent a little bit of that time this time. It was a valuable experience,” he said. In addition, Jeong Ji-seok said, “Not only me, but also my juniors must have experienced everything like hitting a wall in this competition. I see it as a sign of the last step that informs growth. It must have been a precious time for the juniors as well.”
Jung Ji-seok’s love for his juniors continued. He said, “When I first joined Korean Air, being able to compete and learn from the best players in the same position as Kwak Seung-seok, Shin Young-soo, and Kim Hak-min was a great driving force for me. At that time, the hyungs were never relieved or happy that I had an advantage in the competition when things were going wrong. Rather, he tried to help and lead me more,” he looked back on his rookie days.
Jung Ji-seok, who has now become a mid-level player on the team as time goes by, said, “I think the mindset the older brothers had at that time is the driving force that brought our team to where it is today. So I always try to help (Jung) Han-yong or (Lee) Jun-i. If those players accept my help as well as I did and set a good example for their younger siblings in the future, I think our team will continue to be a good team.”
On the other hand, regarding Dmitri Mushalsky’s (Russia, Suntory Sunbirds) vitriol that became a hot topic, Jung Ji-seok said, “Mushalski probably didn’t say that because he wanted to make an enemy. I think he just said it coldly. Of course it doesn’t feel good. So he plans to work even crazier in the next competition,” he said, revealing that he will take that remark as motivation. He also chose Saber Kazemi (Iran, Kuwait Sporting Club) as the most memorable opponent, saying, “Everything was outstanding, including technology, competitive spirit, and physical.”
I wondered if his desire to advance overseas had not grown while dealing with players like Mushalski and Kazemi. Jeong Ji-seok said, “I have an idea. However, for now, the first priority is to achieve our team’s goal of winning 4 consecutive championships. After that, it is okay to receive less than half of the current annual salary, so if the opportunity to advance overseas comes, I will not hesitate. I am a player who opened the door to the high school early draft era. If I can open the door to overseas expansion, I will feel a great sense of responsibility, but I want to try it once.”
Finally, he asked Jung Ji-seok to say hello to the fans. “Before I was a Korean Air player, I participated in the competition with a sense of duty as a representative of Korea. Maybe that’s why many people cheered me on. However, I am so sorry that the results were not so good,” said Jeong Ji-seok, who first conveyed a sincere apology, saying, “Still, the players did their best. I am really grateful to everyone who supported me in Korea, as well as the Korean residents who supported me locally. Next time, we will do our best so that you can be proud of us.”안전놀이터
In the interview with Jeong Ji-seok, I felt his passion for volleyball and his caring heart for his juniors. I was more curious about how much positive energy Jung Ji-seok and his juniors could turn their experience in Bahrain into, and what Korean Air would look like next season.