DAY 3 WRAPUP
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, August 5, 2019 – Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei, India and China have been confirmed as the top 8 teams after completion of the pool round-robin preliminaries of the 3rd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium.
At the three-day pool play, Australia, Japan, Pakistan and India topped their pools A, B, C and D respectively.
On Monday, the final day of the pool round-robin preliminaries, Australia stunned hosts Myanmar with an epic tie-breaker win 24-26 23-25 25-17 27-25 15-10 in Pool A, leaving home fans to depart the competition venue with their heads low in great disappointment. In this hard-fought battle, Benjamin Carleton and Thomas Wheelmer came off the bench to solidify the Aussies’ defence as the superb duo joined forces to help the gritty Young Volleyroos incredibly cruise past the well-organised Myanmar in an exhausting affair.
The remarkable victory gave Australia the top spot in Pool A with 8 points from three straight wins. Myanmar came in third place in the Pool with 4 points from one win against two losses.
The other Pool A encounter saw Sri Lanka benefit from the loss of Myanmar to Australia as they thrashed Hong Kong China in straight sets 25-17 25-22 25-22 for their second win in this top-tier competition. The Sri Lankans finished second in Pool A to join Australia in the round of the top eight teams. Myanmar and Hong Kong China had been relegated to the classification round of 9th-16th places.
Indomitable Japan, silver medallists at the previous edition two years ago in Ardabil, Iran, dominated Pool B as expected, followed by Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.
In their last preliminary match on Monday, Japan proved a cut above Vietnam to beat the Asean rivals in straight sets 25-19 25-22 25-15 to make it three in a row in Pool B.
Kazakhstan overcame a strong challenge from Saudi Arabia to beat the lacklustrous rivals in a hard-fought three-setter 25-20 25-23 25-22.
Following the convincing win, Kazakhstan finished second in Pool B with 6 points from two wins against one loss, while the Japanese side had 9 points from three wins in succession to capture the top spot in the Pool. Both Japan and Kazakhstan progressed to the next round, while Vietnam, gaining 3 points from one win against two losses, and Saudi Arabia, which did not win a set at the end of the pool round-robin preliminaries, came in third and fourth positions to next contest the 9th-16th classification.
In a highly-anticipated clash between the two unbeaten teams to determine the Pool C winners, Pakistan recovered to beat Chinese Taipei, the consecutive two-time bronze medallists, in dramatic four-setter 20-25 25-18 25-18 25-17. Pakistan made a clean sweep in Pool C with 9 points from three straight wins, with Chinese Taipei in second place with 6 points from two wins against one loss.
The other Pool C match between the lower-ranked sides saw Bahrain down Qatar in an Arab volleyball duel, winning 25-22 25-13 25-23. Both teams had already suffered two successive losses and unfortunately failed to make the next round. However, Bahrain had something to be proud of as their straight-set win against Qatar was an history. Bahrain did not take part in the first two editions of the Asian Men’s U23 Championship in 2015 and 2017 and are making their debut efforts this time in Nay Pyi Taw. Therefore, the Bahrain’s win was their first ever in this age group competition.
In Pool D, China tore the New Zealand’s defence into shreds with their exceptional attacks on Monday to beat the oppositions in a lop-sided battle 25-12 25-11 25-10, while Thailand produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-2 (15-25 25-23 25-22 19-25 15-13) win against India.
Despite the comeback win, Thailand had the similar performance as India and China with 6 points from two wins against one loss. However, with the set ratios of the three teams taken for further consideration, Thailand (1.3) came in third place in Pool D. India (1.6) and China (1.6) claimed the top two positions in Pool D.
All 16 teams completed their pool plays on Monday as top two teams from each pool advanced to the top eight contesting the round robin in Pool E and Pool F. Teams finishing third and fourth places in each pool have been relegated to the classification for 9th-16th places in Pool G and Pool H.
Tuesday is the rest day. The competition will resume on Wednesday in the top 8 playoffs and the playoff encounters among the lowered-ranked sides.
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