VNL: 8 Thailand players test positive for COVID-19, replacements arrive in Manila

Thailand in the VNL Week 2 in Manila. –FIVB PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines —  Thailand has brought in replacement players for the Week 2 of Volleyball Nations League (VNL) after eight members tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Thai news outlet SMM Sport, Wipawee Srithong, Jarasporn Bundasak, Katthalee Pinsuwan, Kannika Thipachot and Tichaya Boonlert flew to the Philippines to reinforce the depleted national squad.

It is still unknown if the five replacement players will play in Thailand’s 11 a.m match against Poland on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bangkok Post reported that Piyanut Pannoy, Suppattra Pairoj, Watchareeya Nuanjam and Sutadta Chuewulim tested positive on Sunday, two days before the opener of the Quezon City leg.

Sasipaporn Janthawisut, Hattaya Bamrungsuk, Tichakorn Boonlert and Natthanicha Jaisean also contracted the virus a day after Thailand beat Canada in straight sets on Tuesday.

With the Thais having an undermanned line-up due to the infection, the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has allowed the national team to bring replacement players as it continues its campaign until Sunday.

“Due to exceptional medical circumstances related to COVID-19 which have prevented eight members of the Thailand women’s national volleyball team from being able to participate in Week 2 of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in the Philippines, the FIVB and Volleyball World have allowed the team to register extra players as part of a special replacement procedure,” read FIVB’s statement.

“The special replacement procedure was agreed by the remaining seven participating teams in Pool 4 of the VNL which is currently taking place from 14 to 19 June in the Philippines.”

The FIVB is also allowing other teams to get replacement players if there will be COVID-19 related concerns.

“In addition, all teams participating in the VNL 2022 have been informed that the FIVB/Volleyball World will allow for exceptional medical replacements related to COVID-19,” the federation added.

Thailand arrived last June 7 and played an exhibition game against the Philippine women’s volleyball team on Saturday at San Juan Arena.

The Thais won four of their first five games in the tournament with 11 points.

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