“Uijeongbu KB fans are the best.”
KB Insurance outside hitter Hwang Kyung-min, 27, became a free agent for the first time after the end of last season. Hwang opted to stay rather than move. He signed a three-year contract worth up to 1.815 billion won ($500 million in salary, $150 million in options).
When we recently met at the KB Insurance practice gym in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, Hwang said, “I didn’t know much when I was with Woori Card and Samsung Fire. Last year, we had a lot of good players, but this year, the roster has changed a lot. We have to overcome it. I think that’s why the team gave me a big salary.”메이저놀이터
“They didn’t just give it to me. I have a sense of responsibility for my salary. I feel like I need to work out harder to be more useful to the team,” he added.
After graduating from Kyungpook National University, Hwang was drafted by Woori Card with the second pick of the first round in the 2018 Men’s Rookie Draft and was named the Rookie of the Year that season. Since then, he has played for Woori Card, Samsung Fire, and now KB Insurance. In 35 games last season, Hwang recorded 401 points with a 49.93% offensive success rate and 32.45% receiving efficiency. After joining KB Insurance via trade at the beginning of last season, Hwang is working hard to make today and tomorrow better than yesterday.
He said, “Now I have to play a central role in the team. I’m training without skipping anything, both offense and reception,” he said. “There’s more pressure this season than last season. I have to show a performance worthy of the amount.”
Hwang Kyung-min joined Lim Do-heon-ho after the end of the season to compete in the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup Challenger Men’s Tournament in Taiwan. However, he was subsequently left off the roster for the Asian Championships and Asian Games.
“Actually, I went to the Challenger Cup and played a lot of matches, so I thought I would follow the next tournament, but when I checked the list the next day, my name was not there. I was very upset at first. Then I thought about it again and realized that I’m not good enough to be selected. I have to fill in the gaps,” I said to myself.
Hwang Kyung-min said, “For me, it’s my serve. I think the other outside hitters have good serves. I’ve been practicing a lot. It’s important to overcome the pressure in practice, but in the end, it’s all mental.”
Hwang Kyung-min met his best friend Han Sung-jung as an enemy once again. Photo by Kim Jae-hyun
Hwang parted ways with his best friend Han Sung-jung once again. The two players, who were rumored to be best friends since their school days, played together in Woori Card and led Woori Card to its heyday. However, after taking a break from Woori Card, Hwang Kyung-min reunited with KB Insurance, where Han Sung-jung was last season. However, they parted ways again in the off-season when Han Sung-jung was traded to Woori Card in exchange for Hwang Seung-bin.
Hwang Kyung-min said, “Even after Sung-jung left, people said a lot of things around me. But when I thought about it, I realized that although it would be great to play together, we were not meant to be together. Sung Jung and I have overlapping positions. On a good day, it’s fine, but if one or both of us can’t play, it puts a lot of pressure on outsiders to attack. Sung-jung is back on our card, and I hope it goes well.”
Hwang Kyung-min then greeted the fans who always fill the Uijeongbu Gymnasium. One of the reasons Hwang chose to stay with KB Insurance instead of transferring was the support and passion of the fans.
He said, “Thank you for always supporting me on weekdays and weekends. I feel happy when I play volleyball in Uijeongbu. I’m excited. It was one of the big reasons I signed a new contract. I’m always so grateful. If we reciprocate with our performance, the fans will love us even more. Without fans, there is no player, no team,” she smiled.
“I don’t have any other goals this season. I don’t want to get injured. Last year, I got injured in an international tournament, which was very disappointing. It’s the same for any athlete, but the rehabilitation process was so hard. It was hard to get back into the game, and I was nervous that I could get injured again. Even when you come back, you might not be able to play the way you want to. This year, I want to finish the season injury-free,” she said.