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Kim Ji-han, a troubleshooter who hung up in three months in a long tunnel at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance
Woori Card beat Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance 3-1 (25-27, 25-22, 25-22, 25-14) in the men’s fifth round of Dodram V-League at Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul.
Woori Card, which earned a valuable three-point win, played 27 points (attack success rate of 70.97%) including 4 blocked points. There was a slight shaking in receptions by receiving 31 target hits, but he offset this with his formidable offense.
Currently, Woori Card’s cumulative points are 47 points and 44 points, pushing out second-place Korean Air, which had only been tied until the previous day, to take the lone lead again.
“It felt like a long break after losing five consecutive games,” said Kim Ji-han, who came to the interview room with a relieved face. “The mood was not good, but I’m glad that the fifth round started with a series of defeats. I think things went well today. The ball that seemed unlikely to score a goal scored, and the ball went in even after being hit by the net.”
Woori Card got off to a rather disappointing start in the first set on the day. It got off to a good start. Kim Ji-han scored consecutive points to form a five-point winning streak. However, Yosbani’s hard hit failed to prevent it. He allowed the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance to chase after the team and even turn the tables, allowing five consecutive points that had widened the gap to six points.
Woori Card has been unusually weak against Samsung Fire this season. It has played a total of five matches, and has lost three games and is inferior to them. If Yosbani makes a strong serve, it will be hard to stop him. Notably, it won the first round (October 15, 2023) and lost the second, third, and fourth rounds, before winning the game against Samsung Fire in about three months.
Kim Ji-han said, “There was a lot of points or reversal when serving Yosbani,” adding, “The atmosphere was almost bad because I lost the first set like that, but the players came back together and entered.”
Coach Shin Young-chul trusted his players. During the All-Star break or when he flipped out of the first set, he just said, “Do what you want. Just pay attention to defense.” He didn’t nag him.
Kim Ji-han, who has been the ace of Woori Card since joining the 22-23 season, scored the most points on the day. In addition, he accumulated 381 points and ranked eighth overall in scoring, ranking second among Korean players.
Lim Dong-hyuk (Korean Air), a friend of the same age, is ranked first (7th overall) in the local scoring position with 394 points.
Kim Ji-han was born in 1999 and is called “99s” because he is tied up with Lim Sung-jin (Korea Electric Power Corporation) and Lim Dong-hyuk, who are the same age. Lim Dong-hyuk and Lim Sung-jin came out of elementary, middle, and high schools together in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, while Lim Sung-jin and Kim Ji-han shared a meal with KEPCO.
Competition among peers can be a good catalyst. Asked if he has any thoughts of winning, he strongly said, “Of course I want to win.” “I want to win, so I want to do better, and I work harder. I think it is a good stimulus.”
Kim Ji-han is one of the most popular players in Woori Card at present. At the spectators’ stand, fans can easily meet his fans with placards.
The club released photo cards and F&B products with Kim Ji-han’s face on the back of fans’ responses.
Peach-flavored iced tea (or iced coffee) and popcorn sold at cafes in Jangchung Gymnasium are called “Kim Ji-han Set.”
When asked if he feels embarrassed by special products (goods) with his name on them, he smiled awkwardly, saying, “I’m not embarrassed, but it’s good if a product with my name on it comes out,” adding, “But I don’t have anything for me. I think I should tell the club about this.”
Meanwhile, Woori Card will play its second game of the fifth round against KEPCO at Suwon Indoor Stadium on the 4th.