Riffa, Bahrain, July 1, 2019 – Hosts Bahrain gave all what they had in their tough encounter against Saudi Arabia but went down to the strong visitors in hard-fought five-set thriller 20-25 25-18 23-25 25-19 13-15 in the AVC Western Zone Qualification Tournament for the Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the Shaikh Isa Sports City here on Monday.
Despite the loss, Bahrain still captured the lead with 7 points from 2 wins against 1 loss. Qatar and Iraq also had the similar performances with 2 wins against 1 loss, but due to the better set ratio, Bahrain stay atop the standing. Qatar came in second place with 6 points, with Iraq in third place with similar 6 points.
Saudi Arabia had 4 points from 2 wins against 1 loss to come in fourth place overall, while Kuwait (4 points) and winless Palestine (0 point) are trailing in 5th and 6th places respectively.
Bahrain in conjunction with the Asian Volleyball Confederation is hosting the single round-robin tournament between June 29 and July 4, featuring six regional teams – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait and hosts Bahrain to vie for three slots on offer for the Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship to be held 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 meet. Top three teams from the Bahrain-hosted Western Zone Qualification Tournament will also be eligible to join the fray in Myanmar.
In their quest for eligibility in the Asian Men’s U23 Championship for the first time in history, Bahrain got the top-flight competition off to a brilliant start on June 29 following their convincing straight-set 25-20 25-22 25-18 win against Kuwait. Coached by Bahraini tactician Yousuf Khalifa, the host side were in control of the contest from the very start and never wavered against their Gulf rivals.
Qatar also made a solid start after 3-0 (25-15 31-29 25-19) demolition of Palestine, while Saudi Arabia produced a terrific comeback 3-2 (17-25 25-22 25-21 24-26 15-13) win against Iraq.
Bahrain remain invincible in Day 2 (June 30) encounters as the host side ousted Palestine in comfortable straight sets 25-17 25-19 25-10. Qatar also made it two in a row after powering past Saudi Arabia in thrilling three-setter 25-17 25-22 25-22, while Iraq tasted the first victory in the five-day competition after a magnificent comeback 3-2 (17-25 25-21 23-25 25-22 15-13) win against Kuwait.
On Day 3 (July 1), Iraq came up with an awesome form to put it past the determined Qataris in hard-fought three-setter 25-18 25-20 25-23 for their second win in the tournament. Kuwait captured their first victory in the tournament after pulling off a dramatic four-set 26-24 26-24 23-25 25-14 win over Palestine, while Bahrain suffered their first loss at home after going down to Saudi Arabia in exhausting five sets 20-25 25-18 23-25 25-19 13-15.
Tuesday, July 2 is the rest day. The round-robin competition resumes on Wednesday, with Kuwait taking on Qatar, Palestine challenging Saudi Arabia and Iraq going up against hosts Bahrain.
MATCH RESULTS (Round robin)
DAY 1, JUNE 29
Saudi Arabia b Iraq 3-2 (17-25 25-22 25-21 24-26 15-13)
Qatar b Palestine 3-0 (25-15 31-29 25-19)
Bahrain b Kuwait 3-0 (25-20 25-22 25-18)
DAY 2, JUNE 30
Qatar b Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-17 25-22 25-22)
Iraq b Kuwait 3-2 (17-25 25-21 23-25 25-22 15-13)
Bahrain b Palestine 3-0 (25-17 25-19 25-10)
DAY 3, JULY 1
Iraq b Qatar 3-0 (25-18 25-20 25-23)
Kuwait b Palestine 3-1 (26-24 26-24 23-25 25-14)
Saudi Arabia b Bahrain 3-2 (25-20 18-25 25-23 19-25 15-13)
TEAM RANKING AFTER THREE MATCHES
1. Bahrain 7 points
2. Qatar 6 points
3. Iraq 6 points
4. Saudi Arabia 4 points
5. Kuwait 4 points
6. Palestine 0 point
DAY 4, JULY 3
Kuwait v Qatar
Palestine v Saudi Arabia
Iraq v Bahrain
DAY 5, JULY 4
Saudi Arabia v Kuwait
Palestine v Iraq
Qatar v Bahrain
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