On the weekend of the 24th and 25th November, Kinnaree participated in the 47th Good Neighbour Tournament, Men’s division 4, held in Canberra. After its last appearance at the GNT in 2010, Kinnaree went down to Australia’s capital city with mixed feelings: despite showing a superb performance and attaining a respectable 5th place in 2010, the loss of the ‘golden point’ in the semi-finals was still in the back of their minds.
However, with a slightly different team composition, Kinnaree wanted to let bygones be bygones and arrived in Canberra – slightly tired at 3 a.m. – loaded with team spirit and energy. Kinnaree faced a tough challenge for the beginning of the tournament, opposing Newcastle Blue Tongues, 2010 finalists against sister team Freespirit. As expected, the first set developed into a tough opener where Kinnaree was constantly down, but eventually pulling off and winning the first set. Setting free its energy, sets two and three were dominated by Kinnaree.
Despite having some up and downs – mostly attributable to the team’s short night – Kinnaree pulled through the round-robin draw without dropping a set in order to claim the lead within Pool B. With the created confidence, Kinnaree went into its second semi-final and was eager to win this time. From the beginning of the match, Kinnaree was the dominant team and scored some superb points. During the second set, the team lost some of its concentration, but pulled themselves together to score the big points resulting in a 2-0 win in the semi-finals.
Analogously, Freezone sister team Dangerous Digs had an impressive run through Pool A in the same division and set up a clash in the finals with a comfortable win in the semi-finals. One could tell that both teams were tired, but the final evolved into a dramatic and highly entertaining match. Dangerous Digs got off a good start and in the end took advantage of some of the opponents’ weak phases in order to capture the first set. The second set was dominated by Dangerous Digs; Kinnaree seemed tired and could not gather its last energy, resulting in a formidable and comfortable 2-0 lead for Dangerous Digs. However, Kinnaree used the break to shake off the negative sentiments and find new motivation to start a sensational comeback, overpowering Dangerous Digs by seizing the following three sets to capture the gold medal in the Mens division 4.
Overall, Kinnaree experienced a wonderful time in Canberra topping it off with seizing the gold medal for Freezone and looks forward to defending the title in the 2013 GNT.
Seul Gi Lee