Riffa, Bahrain, July 4, 2019 – Bahrain stamped their authority over the Western Zone U23 Qualification Tournament on Thursday as the host side, Saudi Arabia and Qatar secured their berths for the 3rd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship in Myanmar later this year.
On the final day of the single round-robin tournament at the Shaikh Isa Sports City, hosts Bahrain, which led the pack with 10 points from 3 wins against one 2-3 loss to Saudi Arabia, showed their tremendous courage and defensive resilience to foil determined attacking efforts from Qatar, beating the strong visitors in thrilling four-setter 25-21 15-25 25-19 25-20.
Earlier, gallant Saudi Arabia produced a terrific comeback 3-2 (23-25 23-25 27-25 25-20 15-5) win, while Iraq brushed off Palestine in comfortable straight sets 25-17 25-19 25-11.
After completion of the five matches contested in the round-robin format, hosts Bahrain dominated the five-day tournament with 13 points from 4 wins against one loss, while Saudi Arabia, maintaining their 4-1 win-loss record, came in second place overall with 9 points. Qatar had similar 9 points but had different performance from 3 wins against 2 losses to finish third. Iraq, Kuwait and winless Palestine came in fourth, fifth and sixth places overall.
Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar finished top three in the Western Zone U23 Qualification Tournament in Riffa to make the cut for the 3rd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship, which will take place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from August 3 to 11.
A total of 16 teams will take part in the Asian Men’s U23 Championship in Myanmar. Despite an absence of defending and consecutive two-time champions Iran, 13 teams – Australia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong China, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Japan, Vietnam, China, New Zealand, Thailand, India and hosts Myanmar, have already confirmed their participation in the Asian Championship, while three more slots will be eligible from the Riffa meet.
According to the drawing of lots conducted in Yangon, Myanmar on March 26, 2019, hosts Myanmar, Australia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong China are in Pool A, while Kazakhstan, WZ2, Japan and Vietnam are in Pool B. WZ3 join WZ1, Chinese Taipei and Pakistan in Pool C, with China, New Zealand, Thailand and India in Pool D.
As a result, Bahrain, winners at the Western Zone Qualification Tournament, and Qatar, third place in Riffa, will join Chinese Taipei and Pakistan in Pool C during the Asian Men’s U23 Championship in Nay Pyi Taw, while Saudi Arabia, the team finishing second in Riffa, will be in Pool B with Kazakhstan, Japan and Vietnam.
Powerhouses Iran captured the title in the previous two editions (Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar and Ardabil, Iran), but this time, Iran did not join the fray, leaving the door open for every team to fight for the eventual title.
THURSDAY’S MATCH RESULTS
Saudi Arabia b Kuwait 3-2 (23-25 23-25 27-25 25-20 15-5)
Iraq b Palestine 3-0 (25-17 25-19 25-11)
Bahrain b Qatar 3-1 (25-21 15-25 25-19 25-20)
June 29: Saudi Arabia b Iraq 3-2, Qatar b Palestine 3-0, Bahrain b Kuwait 3-0
June 30: Qatar b Saudi Arabia 3-0, Iraq b Kuwait 3-2, Bahrain b Palestine 3-0
July 1: Iraq b Qatar 3-0, Kuwait b Palestine 3-1, Saudi Arabia b Bahrain 3-2
July 3: Qatar b Kuwait 3-1, Saudi Arabia b Palestine 3-0, Bahrain b Iraq 3-0
July 4: Saudi Arabia b Kuwait 3-2, Iraq b Palestine 3-0, Bahrain b Qatar 3-1
FINAL TEAM RANKING
1. Bahrain 13 points (4 wins 1 loss)……qualified
2. Saudi Arabia 9 points (4-1)…………..qualified
3. Qatar 9 points (3-2)…………………..qualified
4. Iraq 9 points (3-2)
5. Kuwait 5 points (1-4)
6. Palestine 0 point (0-5)
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