Chongqing, China, January 19, 2017 – Defending and successive five-time champions Japan have been drawn with New Zealand and Samoa in Pool B of the SMM 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship between March 5 and 13 in Chongqing, China, which is the Asian qualification round for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Argentina.
The drawing of lots took place recently in Chongqing, with AVC Secretary-General Mr Shanrit Wongprasert presiding. Also in attendance to the meeting were representatives from Media Partner SMMTV and the organising committee members.
A total of 12 teams have confirmed their participation in the nine-day tournament, the first AVC event of the year. They consist of reigning champions Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Australia, Iran and Samoa.
All participating teams have been divided into four pools, with hosts China joining Hong Kong and Iran in Pool A. Japan, New Zealand and Samoa are in Pool B, with Thailand, Kazakhstan and Australia in Pool C. Pool D comprises Korea, Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan.
The pool round-robin preliminaries will take place between March 5 and 7. Iran and hosts China set up the curtain-raisers on March 5, while Japan take on New Zealand, Kazakhstan face Australia and Uzbekistan challenge Korea.
Only top two teams from each pool after the preliminaries will advance to round of the last eight teams in Pool E and F, while the teams finishing third will be relegated to the 9th-12th classification round. Teams playing each other in the preliminaries will not meet again, but their early results will be taken into consideration for ranking classification.
Top four teams from the Asian meet will make the cut for the 20-team 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship from August 18 to 27 in Rosario & Santa Fe’, Argentina. At the previous world meet in Lima, Peru two years ago, five Asian teams had qualified for the top-flight competition. Japan, Thailand, China and Korea qualified through the Asian Girls’ U18 Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, while Chinese Taipei also joined the fray as one of the two teams with the best world rankings.
Since the tournament’s inception in 1997 in Yala, Thailand, only two teams, Japan and China, had captured the titles. Japan made their presence felt to clinch the first crown. China underlined their supremacy over the biennial tournament for four times in a row 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005. Japan roared back to make it five in succession including a hard-fought 3-1 win over hosts Thailand in the previous edition in Nakhon Ratchasima.