In-form Thailand, world No.18 and 15th at the previous edition in Egypt two years ago, produced a fantastic comeback win against Slovakia in the 11th-12th playoff encounter of the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Durango, Mexico on Wednesday.

Against world No.23 Slovakia, Thailand, whose best performance in this topflight competition dated back to 1997 on their home soil when they finished unprecedented fifth place, lost the hard-fought first set 22-25 to the European side, but bounced back to win the remaining three sets 25-22, 25-19, 25-23.

The well-earned 11th position was the Thailand’s best result in 10 years (the previous five editions) which saw the Asian side finish 13th position in Turkey in 2011, 16th in 2013 (at home in Nakhon Ratchasima), 18th in 2015 (Peru), 17th in 2017 (Argentina) and 15th in 2019 (Egypt), while Slovakia did not take part in the past four Championships (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019) and their best-ever performance took place in 1995 when they finished 7th.

Ampha Sonsurat scored a match-high 22 points including 20 attacks for Thailand and Donphon Sinpho bagged 21 points. Radka Haskova scored 23 points on Slovakia’s losing effort.

Donphon Sinpho, captain and outside hitter of Thailand: “I’m really happy because this was a real team win. Slovakia is a great team and they fought until the end, but we were all working together, players and coaching staff. We made too many mistakes in the first set and we knew that we needed to limit those errors to be able to play our game. We always believed we could do that and once we started communicating better, we did it. We wish we had gotten a better position at the end of the tournament, but 11th isn’t bad. We’re proud of what we did here.”

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