DAY 6 WRAP-UP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 9, 2019 – Pakistan and Japan extend their remarkable winning streak at the 3rd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship, with the former pitting their skills against India and the latter testing their mettle against Chinese Taipei in do-or-die semi-finals at Hall B inside the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Fired-up Japan, silver medallists at the previous edition in Ardabil, Iran in 2017, bagged a crucial win in the Friday’s quarter-final encounter following a stunning straight-set 25-21, 25-16, 25-14 over Sri Lanka.
Kento Miyaura chipped in with 15 points for Japan consisting of 12 attacks and 3 aces, while Lakshita Bandara led Sri Lanka with 8 points.
The Japan’s top scorer has set his team’s high hopes on winning the historic gold medal. “We won the game today and we are physically and mentally prepared to achieve victory. We will do our best to challenge our opponents no matter which team. The level of the tournament here in Myanmar is very high and many matches were very close. I think a daunting task awaits us in the next matches, but we will pour everything to win.”
Irresistible Japan are due to take on Chinese Taipei, which tore the China’s defence into shreds to beat the formidable rivals in hard-fought three-setter 26-24, 25-19, 25-20, in the Saturday’s semi-finals.
India were also in superb form on Friday as they shrugged off a dismal start to rally for a 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-21, 27-25) triumph over Australia and will next lock horns with undefeated Pakistan. The Pakistani side had been forced to play exhausting four sets prior to shunning out Kazakhstan 25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 25-21 to punch their tickets to the semi-finals.
The four losers in the Friday’s quarter-finals have been relegated to the classification round for 5th-8th places, with Sri Lanka taking on China and Kazakhstan strutting their stuff against Australia on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the 9th-12th playoff matches on Friday, Vietnam thrashed Bahrain in comfortable straight sets 25-18, 25-19, 25-14 to fight for the 9th place with hosts Myanmar, which barely broke a sweat as they captured a sensational straight-set win against Thailand.
On Friday, Thailand, fourth place at the previous edition in Iran two years ago, succumbed to their disappointing 20-25, 23-25, 18-25 loss to the host side, which finished fifth at the inaugural championship in 2015, but did not take part in the Ardabil episode. Thailand and Bahrain will battle it out for the 11th position.
In the 13th-16th playoffs, Hong Kong China saw off Saudi Arabia in closely-contested four-set battle 18-25, 27-25, 28-26, 25-19 to celebrate their first win in this top-tier championship, while Qatar, fresh from tasting their first victory over Hong Kong China on Thursday, made it two in a row following the impressive 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-13) win against New Zealand.
On Saturday, Hong Kong China will renew their rivalry with Qatar in the 13th-14th playoff match, while New Zealand and Saudi Arabia will vie for the 15th position.
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