LOWER-RANKED SIDES BRACE FOR STIFF CHALLENGES AT ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 13, 2018 – Thailand handed defending 12-time champions China a shock 3-2 defeat in an epic comeback on their last pool round-robin preliminaries of the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship as uphill tasks await lower-ranked teams in the knockout classification round on Thursday.
The fantastic 3-2 (13-25 25-20 25-27 25-22 15-10) victory at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium on Wednesday was one of the Thailand’s best results in the biennial championship since they had won silver medal in 2002 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Thai girls not only overpowered the Asian U19 winners, but also the world U20 champions. China beat Japan in the previous final showdown of the 2016 Asian Women’s U19 Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand and continued their brilliance last year to capture the World Women’s U20 Championship in Mexico.
“I’m happy with the results, but not satisfied with my players’ performance in the first three sets against China. They did not follow the game plan. However, I know that it was my girls’ determination and willing to win this match. In the fourth set, we had great serves. Our players are tall and successfully blocked the Chinese attackers. In our next match, we will play Sri Lanka. We will rest our best players and instead field substitutions,” Thailand head coach Chamnan Dokmai commented.
Five-time champions Japan made a perfect run in Pool A by not losing a set to their respective rivals in the pool plays at the top-tier competition. The invincible Japan first powered past the taller China before thrashing Thailand. On Tuesday, the Japanese brushed off hosts Vietnam 25-12 25-12 25-21.
“Every match is not easy for us. Manami (Nishimura), Sai (Koya) and Hihata (Shighihara) played very well. Since our training Tuesday morning, the three players performed well and in this match against Vietnam, they proved to be our major forces to be reckoned with. In the third set
attack combinations between setter and spikers were not that good and that was why the on-going game was so close,” said Japan head coach Kiyoshi Abo.
“We are now R1 (ranked 1) and are due to next take on R16 on Thursday. However, since Uzbekistan withdrew from the competition. We will have two rest days before resuming our competition. We changed several players in this match against Vietnam. Our players in this match did not play in the first two matches against China and Thailand That’s why we have to prepare our players for every match we will play,” he added.
Chinese Taipei made a clean sweep in Pool B after seeing off India in straight sets 25-17 25-21 25-13 on Tuesday. Chinese Taipei had already claimed two wins in this championship after respectively stunning Korea in tie-breaker and Kazakhstan in straight sets.
Iran outclassed pint-sized Macao in a completely one-sided 25-11 25-18 25-12 encounter to end their Pool C campaign in the preliminaries with two wins against one loss to Australia.
At the Bac Ninh University Hall on Tuesday, fired-up Korea struggled to beat gallant Kazakhstan with a comeback 3-2 (23-25 17-25 25-20 25-14 15-6) win in Pool B, while Hong Kong enjoyed another victory after edging past Australia 3-2 (17-25 27-25 22-25 25-18 15-8) and Malaysia stole the show following a hard-fought 25-16 25-23 25-23 win over Sri Lanka.
At the end of the pool round-robin preliminaries, all 15 participating teams are ranked according to their performances in their pools, with unbeaten Japan being ranked R1 in Pool A, Thailand R2, China R3 and Vietnam R4.
In Pool B, undefeated Chinese Taipei are ranked R5, with Korea R6, Kazakhstan R7 and India R8 respectively. Iran are ranked R9, Australia R10, Hong Kong R11 and Macao R12, while in Pool D, New Zealand are ranked R13, Malaysia R14, Sri Lanka R15 and Uzbekistan, which had withdrew ahead of the competition, R16.
Wednesday is the rest day, but teams continued their intensive training since uphill tasks await them the following day when the competition resumes in the knockout playoffs (classification 1-8 and 9-16). Lower-ranked sides have to challenge stronger rivals, with teams ranked R1 Japan playing R16 Uzbekistan, R2 Thailand v R15 Sri Lanka, R3 China v R14 Malaysia, R4 Vietnam v R13 New Zealand and so on. However, due to the early withdrawal of R16 Uzbekistan, R1 Japan enjoy another rest day on Thursday.
The eight winning teams on Thursday advance to the quarter-finals, with the losers being relegated to 9th-16th classification.
At the Bac Ninh Gymnasium
Thailand b China 3-2 (13-25 25-20 25-27 25-22 15-10)
Japan b Vietnam 3-0 (25-12 25-12 25-21)
Chinese Taipei b India 3-0 (25-17 25-21 25-13)
Iran b Macao 3-0 (25-11 25-18 25-12)
At the Bac Ninh University Hall
Korea b Kazakhstan 3-2 (23-25 17-25 25-20 25-14 15-6)
Hong Kong b Australia 3-2 (17-25 27-25 22-25 25-18 15-8)
Malaysia b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-16 25-23 25-23)
RANKING AFTER POOL ROUND-ROBIN PRELIMINARIES
Ranking 1-4: R1: Japan R2: Thailand R3: China R4: Vietnam
Ranking 5-8: R5: Chinese Taipei R6: Korea R7: Kazakhstan R8: India
Ranking 9-12: R9: Iran R10: Australia R11: Hong Kong R12: Macao
Ranking 13-16: R13: New Zealand R14: Malaysia R15: Sri Lanka
THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018
CLASSIFICATION 1-8 AND 9-16
At Bac Ninh Gymnasium
12.30pm: China v Malaysia
3pm: Thailand v Sri Lanka
5.30pm: Chinese Taipei v Macao
8p;m: Vietnam v New Zealand
At Bac Ninh University Hall
12.30pm: Kazakhstan v Australia
3pm: Korea v Hong Kong
5.30pm: India v Iran
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