Volkner is the Gym Leader of Sunyshore Gym. His rival and childhood friend is the Elite Four member Flint.
Ash arrived at the Sunyshore Gym gym to have a battle with Volkner but he was depressed and did not want to battle trainers anymore. He left a box of gym badges at the entrance to the gym but Ash wasn't satisfied with receiving a badge without battling.
After encountering Flint outside the Sunyshore Gym, Flint took Ash and his friends to the Sunyshore Tower where they met Volkner. After Ash had a battle with Flint, Volkner agreed to have a battle with Ash.