ISA Sports City Stadium in Manama, Bahrain, where the final day of the 2023 AVC (Asian Volleyball Confederation) Men’s Club Championship between Korea’s representative Korean Air and Mongolia’s representative Bayanhongor took place.
In the stands,안전놀이터 Koreans cheered enthusiastically. Starting from the match against Canberra, Australia on the 14th, the first day of the tournament, the slogan of ‘Dae-Korean Air’ was repeatedly shouted with a large Taegeukgi and drums at the forefront. Excluding Bahrain on the home court, it was by far the most enthusiastic cheering among the remaining 15 participating countries.
In particular, Korean flight attendants of Gulf Air, Bahrain’s national airline, were seated in the audience, drawing attention.
Currently, there are around 200 local Koreans living in Bahrain. Among them, Gulf Air Korean flight attendants account for about 80 people. Most of them have busy flight schedules, but the flight attendants contacted each other and visited the volleyball field during the rest days or after the flight was over during this competition.
Korean Air players are taking a commemorative photo in front of the Korean cheerleaders after winning the game on the 19th. Gulf Air flight attendants are posing with Korean Air T-shirts. (C)KOVO
Jeong Su-hyeon, who held a cheering match at the volleyball court for two days in a row, said, “I knew in advance that the volleyball competition would be held through the Korean community and the crew attending the Korean church. This time, I became more interested in volleyball while cheering on site.”
He added, “It’s not the same job, but as we belong to the same airline industry, I hope that Korean Air will participate in more world competitions and play good matches.”
Bahrain is an island country smaller than Jeju Island. There are not many tourist spots, and the only places crowded with people are shopping malls. Elementary school students come to the shopping mall for picnics. Compared to living in Korea, it can be a little boring repetition of daily life.
In particular, Korean flight attendants who fly from Manaba, the capital of Bahrain, for as short as 2-3 years to as long as 15 years, are overcoming homesickness through the time they spend with their classmates or colleagues. This volleyball match was also an opportunity to spend a lively time after a long time. The cheering match with Korean residents was also very enthusiastic.
Bahrain’s national airline, Gulf Air, was established in 1950 for the first time in the Middle East, and currently boasts over 50 destinations. It once operated flights to North Korea, and currently has an air transport agreement with South Korea, so the possibility of opening a direct route is open.
Jeong Su-hyeon said, “I usually go to Korea once every 3 or 5 months. If I go to Korea during the volleyball season this winter, I think I will go to the volleyball court again to cheer.”