Male, Maldives, February 2, 2017- Iran proved a cut above the rest in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Qualification Tournament AVC Central Zone to qualify for the Asian final round.
The tournament attracted three countries comprising Nepal, Iran and Maldives to vie for the top honour and the lone berth to contest the second round, which will be split into Pool A in Kazakhstan and Pool B in Thailand, both to be held between September 20 and 24, 2017.
With the top-six (world ranking as of January 1, 2015 (Finals hosts Japan not included), China, Chinese Taipei and hosts Kazakhstan in Pool A and South Korea, Vietnam and hosts Thailand in Pool B have qualified automatically for the Asian second round, while the other four teams qualified from the Asian sub zone first round will be drawn in the Asian second round (final round).
Top two teams apiece from Pool A and Pool B will then join hosts Japan for the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Women’s Championship Finals.
Actually, India was chosen as the host country for the 2018 World Championship Qualification Tournament AVC Central Zone, but due to internal problems with the Volleyball Federation of India, the Asian Volleyball Confederation decided to shift the competition venue from India to Male in the Maldives.
Maldives hosted Nepal and Iran in the single round-robin tournament during January 27 and 29. Nepal got the tournament off to a great start with a straight-set 25-17 25-17 25-13 victory over hosts Maldives last Friday (January 27), but the Nepalese side failed to make their mark in their second match against Iran the following day when they succumbed to a straight-set 12-25 12-25 12-25 loss to much stronger Iranians.
On Sunday, Iran, current world No.115 and eighth place at the 2017 Asian Championship in Tianjin, China, remained in their formidable line-up consisting of Soudabeh Bagherpour, Shabnam Alikhani, Maedeh Borhani, captain Zeinab Giveh, Farnoosh Sheikh and Negar Kianin in the final encounter against hosts Maldives.
Iran mercilessly crushed Maldives in a totally one-sided battle 25-4 25-12 25-15 to reign supreme over the three-day competition.
A total of 24 teams including four Asian nations will test their mettle in the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Volleyball Championship Finals, which will be held from September 29 to October 20, 2018 in Japan.
So far, three teams have already made the cut for the 2018 Finals comprising hosts Japan and reigning world champions the United States, two of them automatically qualified, and Brazil, winners at the 2015 South American Championship.
The remaining will compete in different continental qualification tournaments which will see a total of 21 teams join hosts Japan, the USA and Brazil to the Finals. They consist of four teams from Asia, eight from Europe, six from Norceca, two from Africa and one from South America.
January 27, 2017: Nepal b Maldives 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-13)
January 28, 2017: Iran b Nepal 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-12)
January 29, 2017: Iran b Maldives 3-0 (25-4, 25-12, 25-15)
Most Valuable player: Shabnam Alikhani (Iran)
Best opposite player: Maedeh Borhani Esfahan (Iran)
Best outside attacker: Zeinab Giveh (Iran)
2nd best outside attacker: Pratibha Mali (Nepal)
Best middle blocker: Farnoosh Sheikhi (Iran)
2nd best middle blocker: Soudabeh Bagherpour (Iran)
Best setter: Shabnam Alikhani (Iran)
Best Libero: Negar Kiani(Iran)
1. Iran – Qualified for World Championship Qualification Tournament Asian final round (either in Thailand or Kazakhstan) between September 20 and 24