My nickname is “Megatron.” I’ll heat up the volleyball with my super-strong spikes.

KGC Ginseng Corporation Mega, the first player to wear a hijab in the V-League
“I will always do my best to achieve good results.
I want to be a role model for my teammates.
Worried about the hijab? It has never come undone during a game.”

Megawatti Puthiwi (real name Mega), a member of the KGC Ginseng Corporation’s women’s professional volleyball team, sits on the court wearing a hijab and smiles while holding a volleyball at the team’s gymnasium in Daedeok-gu, Daejeon, on Wednesday. This is the first time Mega has played in a hijab since the inception of professional volleyball in 2005.

Megawati Putiwi (registered name Mega-24-KGC Ginseng Corporation), who appeared with a hijab on her head and her arms and legs covered with a toshi, suddenly brought up the name of Shin Tae-yong, 53, the coach of the Indonesian national soccer team.

“Just as there is no one in Indonesia who doesn’t know Coach Shin, I will play to promote Indonesia,” Mega said on the 13th at the club’s gym in Daedeok-gu, Daejeon. As the first Indonesian player in Korean professional volleyball, I want to be a good role model for my Indonesian teammates,” she said.

The Korean Volleyball Organization (KOVO) introduced the Asia Quarter (AQ) program ahead of the 2023-2024 season, which saw 14 players from Taiwan (2), Mongolia (2), Indonesia (1), Japan (3), Thailand (4), and the Philippines (2) play in the Korean Professional Volleyball League. Mega, who was selected with the third overall pick in the women’s AQ Draft, is a Muslim and wears a hijab in her daily life as well as during matches. “I brought seven hijabs for the game, five for going out and four for staying in,” she laughs, adding, “During the game, I put five pins around my head and neck to secure the hijab. It has never come undone,” she said, showing me the pins. There are not many Indonesian speakers in Korea. Ginseng decided to rely on Yoon Sol Kim, 22, a Malay-Indonesian language major at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, to translate. Kim took a leave of absence from school to help Mega live in Korea.

Mega, who began his professional career in the 2015-2016 season, has played in leagues in Thailand and Vietnam as well as Indonesia. She has also played for the national team since 2017, competing in the Southeast Asian Games (May) and the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Challenge Cup (June) this year. At the Challenge Cup, she was named Best Offensive Spiker after leading her team to a runner-up finish.

Looking to return to the postseason for the first time in seven years, the Ginseng Corporation decided to give Mega, the tallest AQ player (185 centimeters), the opportunity to play outside hitter (right side), while selecting Giovanna Milana (25-USA) to play outside hitter (left side). Of the seven teams in the women’s division, only Ginseng Corporation has a foreign player on the left side. That’s a testament to Mega’s offensive prowess.

“I’m called ‘Megatron‘ (a character from the movie Transformers) by Indonesian fans,” says Mega. “Korean volleyball is fast and high level. But even though the language is different, volleyball is the same everywhere. I always think, ‘Let’s do it,’ and I will do my best to achieve good results.”

A huge fan of Korean dramas, Mega has a long list of things she wants to do in Korea. She ate her favorite chicken and tteokbokki at her hostel the day after her arrival (11 days) with setter Yeom Hye-sun, 32, but has yet to visit Seoul’s Namsan Mountain. Of course, what she wants to accomplish most is to make her mark on the 한국야동 Korean league. “I will do my best to play with my friendly teammates and get better every time,” said Mega. I want to reach the championship and win the title.”

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