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Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, April 5, 2017 – Invincible Japan captured their maiden victory at the SMM 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium after an exceptional straight-set 25-17 25-18 25-19 victory over Korea in the thrilling final showdown on Wednesday.

The win in the clash of the two unbeaten teams made Japan the only team in this biennial tournament to capture the title without losing a set to their respective rivals. It was also the first-ever title that Japan won in this age group event since their debut effort in 1997 in the Philippines. At the previous edition in Sri Lanka in 2014, Japan advanced to the final, only beaten by Iran to return with the second place.

The Wednesday’s win also gave Japan a clean sweep of both Asian Youth titles on offer in the Girls’ U18 and Boys’ U19 Championship. Last month, Japan won the Asian Girls’ U18 Championship title in Chongqing, China.

With top four teams in the 11th Asian Boys’ U19 Championship securing their places for the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 Championship in Bahrain in August, Japan, Korea, China and Iran have been confirmed to be the four teams from Asia to qualify for world meet.

Kento Miyaura scored a team-high 19 points for Japan in this final match including 17 kills from 31 attempts and Hirohito Kashimura added 4 kill blocks, while Lim Sungjin led Korea with 10 points including 8 attack hits. Im Donghyeok added 8 kills.

“I’m very happy that my team won the match. It’s our best performance in this tournament. Every player performed well because they look fresh and never get tired on court. After this, we will prepare for the world meet in Bahrain and maybe, this team will compete at the next year’s Asian Men’s U20 Championship,” Japan’s head coach Hiroshi Honda commented after the match.

China clinched bronze medal after overpowering defending champions Iran with a magnificent come-from-behind 22-25 25-22 25-21 25-19 victory in the third-place playoff.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei, which finished fourth at the previous edition in Sri Lanka in 2014, took the fifth place this time following their hard-fought 25-21 25-23 25-21 win over Thailand.

Australia claimed 7th place after brushing off hosts Myanmar in straight sets 25-14 25-23 25-19 in the 7th-8h place playoff match.

The award presentation was held on Wednesday, with Dr Myint Htwe, Union Minster of Ministry of Health and Sports, presiding. Japan captured the 11th Asian Boys’ U19 title, with Korea securing the second place. China had to be content with the fourth place, while Iran came in fourth.

FINAL RANKINGS
Japan
Korea
China
Iran
Chinese Taipei
Thailand
Australia
Myanmar
Sri Lanka
Bangladesh
Hong Kong
Remark: Top four teams – Japan, Korea, China and Iran qualified for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Bahrain between August 18 and 27.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Best Outside Spikers
No.12 Iran – Morteza Sharifi
No.9 Japan – Mahiro Sake
Best Middle Blockers
No.7 China – Wang Dongchen
No.11 Japan – Shunichiro Sato
Best Opposite Spiker
No.1 Korea – Im Donghyeok
Best Setter
No.3 Korea – Choi Ikje
Best Libero
No.16 Korea – Park Kyeongmin
Most Valuable Player
No.1 Japan – Kento Miyaura

 

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