Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, April 5, 2017 – China clinched bronze medal after overpowering defending champions Iran with a magnificent come-from-behind 22-25 25-22 25-21…victory in the third-place playoff at the SMM 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.
For Iran, the 11th edition in Myanmar turned out to be a nightmare as they left the competition venue with their heads low in great despair following a fourth-place finish at the championship, which they have won for seven times including six in a row. Above all, it was the first time that Iran dropped from the top-three podium in this biennial tournament since their debut effort in 2001 at home.
Among the eight editions they took part in, only their second appearance in 2003 saw the Iranians finish second. They finished on top of the remaining episodes they participated which consisted of 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
Against tall China, the team they had lost in five sets in the playoff match at the round of the last eight teams, the Iranians got off to a good start to win the first set 25-22. However, the 204cm Zhang Jingyin and Tian Cong brought the Chinese back on track, utilising their exceptional spikes and blocks to help them take the second and third sets 25-22 25-21.
The fourth set was very close, but China still preformed brilliantly both in defence and offence. China won the set 25-19, match and the third place in this tournament.
Zhang Jingyin scored a match-high 22 points for China including 19 kills from 32 attempts. Tian Cong contributed 13 attack hits and 4 stuff blocks. Morteza Sharifi led Iran with 20 points, all of them from devastating spikes, while Ali Tabari contributed 17 kills.
After the match, China’s head coach Wang Haichuan expressed his upset over his team’s failure to make it to the final. “Despite a big win over defending champions Iran, I’m just a little happy because we missed a chance to compete in the final. After this, we will continue our training in preparation for the World Championship in Bahrain. Six new players will join our team for the world meet.”
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