DAY 7 WRAPUP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 10, 2019 – Chinese Taipei and India set up a final clash of the Titans at the 3rd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship after stunning the two unbeaten teams in the semi-finals, with the former capturing an epic tie-breaker win against Japan and the latter brushing off Pakistan in dramatic four-setter at Hall B inside the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
No matter which team will reign supreme over the third edition of this top-flight age-group competition, it will be their unprecedented title achieved in Nay Pyi Taw as Iran made a clean sweep of both previous titles, 2015 in Nay Pyi Taw and 2017 in Ardabil, Iran. As Chinese Taipei had to be content with the bronze medal in both editions, India finished a distant 8th position at the inaugural championship, but did not test their mettle in the second episode.
In the do-or-die semi-finals on Saturday, Chinese Taipei showcased a dose of grit through sensational blocking and a potent blend of attack and defence to win a hard-fought five-set thriller 25-20, 25-17, 16-25, 15-25, 19-17 against Japan, making one step closer to winning their historic gold medal and simultaneously handing Japan the crucial loss which forced the gritty rivals to crash out of the title race.
In the Sunday’s final showdown, Chinese Taipei are due to take on India, which delivered a shock defeat to well-established Pakistan with a comeback 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-18) win in the other semi-final encounter. The two losers in the semi-finals, Japan and Pakistan, will battle it out in the third-place playoff.
Meanwhile, the 5th-8th playoff matches saw China outclass Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23) to next fight for the 5th place against Kazakhstan, which gallantly fought hard against Australia to overpower the Young Volleyroos in thrilling four-setter 25-22, 14-25, 25-23, 25-22. Sri Lanka and Australia will contest the 7th-8th playoff encounter.
For the lower-ranked teams contesting the 9th-16th playoff encounters, all matches took place at Hall C on Saturday.
In the 9th-10th playoff earlier, Vietnam thrashed hosts Myanmar in closely-contested all-Asean three-setter 27-25, 25-23, 25-21 to claim the 9th place, with Myanmar ending their campaign with the 10th position, a far cry from the 5th place they had won in the first edition on their home soil four years ago.
Thailand, fourth in the second edition on Ardabil, took the disappointing 11th place after putting it past the fighting Bahrain in a hotly-contested clash 25-23, 25-21, 26-24. Bahrain finished 12th position.
Qatar, which made their presence felt in the inaugural championship in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar four years ago to return with a distant 11th place, but did not compete in the second edition in Iran two years later, completed their campaign with a below-par 13th position after a well-earned 3-1 (25-16, 24-26, 25-22, 25-20) win against Hong Kong China in the 13th-14th playoff on Saturday. Hong Kong China came in 14th place overall.
Saudi Arabia showed their great team spirit and improved performance to beat New Zealand in comfortable straight sets 25-14, 25-20, 25-20 to finish 15th place, leaving the Kiwis, who are making their debut efforts in this top-notch age-group competition in the third edition here, to finish the bottom 16th place overall.
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