Songkhla, Thailand, April 14, 2018 – Four teams claimed their crucial wins in the men’s qualification to advance to the main draw of the SMM AVC Beach Volleyball Tour “19th Samila Open,” as both men’s teams from Chinese Taipei and Maldives suffered an early exit.
The 19th edition of the Samila Open kicked off on Saturday in the men’s qualification round to seek eligible teams to fill the four-team vacancies in the main draw, which will start on Sunday in both men’s and women’s events. Only five matches were contested in the qualification, while 22 women’s teams need not play the Saturday’s qualification, but have already booked their berths in the main draw.
Malaysia 1’s Nordin Rafi Asruki/Saifuddin Bin Raja Hussin Raja Nazmi lost the first set 19-21 to Ismail Sajid/Asfag Adam before beating the Maldives 2’s duo 21-13 15-9 to secure their place in the Sunday’s main draw, where they have been drawn in Pool G with Australia 1 and Japan 1.
“We started slowly to go down in the first set, but came back to win the second and third sets,” said Raja Nazmi.
“We lost the first set because I just made a comeback effort after four-year suspension. Actually, I have been continuously taking part in the Samila Open for several years since 2006. However, in 2014, I teamed up with Mohammad Razif Mahadi to compete here in the Samila Open. We finished a disappointing 25th finish and after that, I did not compete here. I just returned to partner Raja Nazmi this time,” added Rafi Asruki.
“We trained together only two months in preparation for this tournament. Winning this qualifying match, we next take on Japan 1 and Australia 1 in Pool G. We will face daunting task in the main draw. So, to enter the main draw is our priority. In terms of conditions of the competition courts, I think it’s perfect,” said Raja Nazmi.
Also advancing to the main draw were Nguyen Ba Truong Dang/Pham Le Dinh Khoi when the Vietnamese duo brushed off Maldives 1’s Abdul Waahid Shiunaz/Ali Mohamed 21-13 21-15. The Vietnamese pairing will take on Hong Kong 1 and Indonesia 2 in Pool F.
Hong Kong 2’s Pok Man Yeung/Kam Lung Chui also had no problem thrashing Chinese Taipei 1’s Wang Chin-Ju/Hsieh Ya-Jen in comfortable straight sets 21-12 21-17. The Hong Kong 2’s duo will advance to the main draw, where they will be pitted against Thailand 2 and China 1 in Pool H.
In the last qualifying match on Saturday, Chinese Taipei 2’s Hsu Chen-Wai/Pan Po-Hung, who downed Malaysia 2’s Gee Jia Wei/Young Kuck Kwan 21-16 21-8 in the first qualifying encounter, could not maintain their fine form to go down fighting to Singapore 2’s Mark Shen Fan Yang/Kingsley Tay 21-17 20-22 11-15. The fantastic comeback win earned Singapore 2 a place in the main draw, where they will go up against Iran 1 and Kazakhstan 2 in Pool E.
Unfortunately for Maldives and Chinese Taipei as both teams from the two countries failed to make their mark and crashed out from the competition.
The Sunday’s main draw will start at 8am. The pool round-robin preliminaries will be held in both men’s and women’’s events. Only top two teams from each pool will advance to the next round. The semi-finals, the third-place playoffs and the final showdowns will be held on April 17.
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