The Isa Sports City Arena in Manama, Bahrain, hosted the final day match of the 2023 Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Men’s Club Championship between Korean Air and Mongolia’s Bayang Hongor.
In the stands, the Korean community cheered on the team. From the first day of the tournament on the 14th, against Canberra, Australia, they chanted ‘Dae~Han Airlines’ with a large flag and drums. Except for Bahrain on the home court, this was by far the best support among the other 15 participating countries.
In particular, Korean flight attendants from Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national carrier, were in the stands.
Currently, there are about 200 Koreans living in Bahrain. Of these, about 80 Korean flight attendants work for Gulf Air. Most of them have busy flight schedules, but during the tournament, the flight attendants contacted each other on their days off or after flights to find a volleyball court.안전놀이터
“I knew about the volleyball tournament in advance through the Korean community and crew members who attend Korean churches,” said Jeong Soo-hyun, who cheered on the volleyball court for two consecutive days. “I became more interested in volleyball while cheering on the field this time,” he said.
“Although we are not in the same profession, we are in the same airline industry, so we are cheering for Korean Air to participate in more world tournaments and hopefully play a good game,” he added.
Bahrain is an island nation smaller than Jeju Island. There aren’t many tourist spots, and the only places that are crowded are shopping malls. There are even elementary school students who come to the mall for picnics. Compared to life in Korea, it can be a bit of a free-for-all.
Especially for Korean flight attendants who have been flying out of Manaba, the capital of Bahrain, for as little as two to three years and as long as 15 years, spending time with their colleagues and coworkers helps them cope with homesickness. The volleyball game pep rally was also an opportunity to spend a lively time after a long time. The cheers from the Korean community were also very enthusiastic.
Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, was founded in 1950, the first airline in the Middle East, and now boasts more than 50 destinations. It once flew to North Korea, and now that it has an air agreement with South Korea, the possibility of direct flights is open.
“I usually go to Korea once every three or five months,” says Jeong. If I go to Korea during the volleyball season this winter, I think I’ll be able to visit the volleyball court once again and cheer them on,” he said with a characteristic smile.