Kim Yeon-kyung, a regular in the V-League Championship, again this season? : Sports Donga

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Kim Yeon-kyung. Sports Donga DB

As Kim Yeon-kyung (34, Heungkuk Life Insurance) returned, a green light was lit on the success of the V-League.

Kim Yeon-kyung signed a one-year contract with Heungkuk Life Insurance for a total of 700 million won (an annual salary of 450 million won + options 250 million won). He left for the Chinese stage after the 2020-2021 season, and will meet his Korean fans again after two seasons.

Women’s volleyball reached the peak of popularity last year as a fourth-place Shinhwa at the Tokyo Olympics. However, at the beginning of last season, the IBK Industrial Bank player’s trespassing and internal strife drew attention, and after losing eight consecutive losses in the 2022 Volleyball Nations League (VNL), where the national team is participating, he disappointed fans. With the emergency lights turned on for the next season’s box office, the news of Kim Yeon-kyung’s return was raining in the drought. His commerciality has already been verified, recording the highest viewer ratings in the 2020-2021 season, when he returned to the domestic stage after 11 years.

Heungkuk Life Insurance welcomed me more than anyone. In particular, director Kwon Soon-chan, who took the new baton, won thousands and thousands of horses. Heungkuk Life Insurance, which was sluggish in 6th place last season, jumped to the championship title in an instant with Kim Yeon-kyung’s joining. If Kim Yeon-kyung builds a pair of left and right guns with foreign player Yelena (Bosnia), it is evaluated that there is no problem in leaping to the top.

What is interesting is Kim Yeon-kyung’s V-League record. So far, they have played 5 seasons, and all of them have stepped on the stage of the championship game. He won 3 of them.

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Kim Yeon-kyung, who wore Heungkuk Life Insurance’s uniform as the 1st pick in the first round of the draft, swept the 2005-2006 season Rookie of the Year award, regular league MVP, and champion MVP. In the 2006-2007 season, he also won the regular league MVP and championship MVP titles. Heungkuk Life Insurance won the combined championship for two consecutive seasons thanks to Kim Yeon-kyung’s performance.

Kim Yeon-kyung. Sports Donga DB

Heungkuk Life, which placed first in the regular league during the 2007-2008 season and lost to GS Caltex in the championship, remained third in the regular league in the 2008-2009 season, but defeated GS Caltex in the championship and regained the top spot. The MVP of the championship was Kim Yeon-kyung.

The domestic stage was too narrow. After leaving the V-League, he played active roles in Japan, Turkey and China, and grew into a ‘world star’. During the 2020-2021 season again, he was selected as the MVP of the regular league due to his first place in attack success rate (45.92%) and first place in serve (0.227 successes per set) while standing in front of domestic fans again. Although Heungkuk Life lost to GS Caltex in the championship game, Kim Yeon-kyung’s majesty was still there.

The 2022-2023 season, which begins in October, is Kim Yeon-kyung’s sixth season in the V-League. It is noteworthy whether he will be able to step on to the top of the championship for the fourth time along with advancing to the championship.

Reporter Choi Hyun-gil choihg2@donga.com View more articles by reporter

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