Palembang, Indonesia, December 14, 2014 – Thailand made a clean sweep of both titles on offer in the 17th Asean University Games Volleyball Championship on Sunday, with the Thai women’s team outclassing hosts Indonesia in the final showdown to regain the pride lost to Vietnam in the previous edition two years ago in Laos and their men’s side capturing the crown five times in a row in the biennial competition.
In the women’s event, Thailand, the only team which did not lose to any rival en route to the Sunday’s final against Indonesia, fielded a strong line-up led by three current national spikers including hard-attacking Kannika Thipachot and deadly southpaw Rasamee Supamool, while the host side were strengthened by Fajrina Nabila Amalia.
Thailand played well up to their standard, with Kannika and Rasamee taking turns penetrating the Indonesian defence with their exceptional spikes to help the well-established squad take the first two sets 25-8 25-13. Indonesia, cheered on by a large crowd of home spectators packing the Palembang Sports and Convention Center, regained their composure and came back much stronger to take a commanding 17-12 lead in the third set. However, with the greater experience and form, Thailand clawed their ways back to gradually win points. Indonesia took a crucial point to lead 24-21, needing only one more point to win the set.
However, the Thai players had the guts and played more carefully. They caught up with the host side 25-25, 26-26 and went on their superb form to clinch the remaining two points 28-26, the set and the championship.
Kannika Thipachot led Thailand with 13 points including 10 ace spikes, the similar skill to Rasamee Supamool. Kannika also led in blocking with three points. Fajrina Nabila Amalia topscored with 13 points for Indonesia including 11 devastating spikes. Sugandi Wilda Siti assisted with four stuff blocks.
Thailand had won the title for three times consecutively in 2006, 2008 and 2010, but just went down to Vietnam 2-3 in the final clash at the previous episode in Vientiane, Laos two years ago.
Earlier, the Philippines, coached by Thai Bundit Anusorn, crushed Malaysia 25-11 25-11 25-16 in the third-place playoff. Alyssa Valdez emerged as the top scorer of the Philippines after collecting 16 points, all from ace spikes. Nuraini Bnti Ariffin led Malaysia with eight points including seven attack hits.
The Thai men’s team pose in a group photo with the local organisers during the awards presentation
Meanwhile, the men’s competition saw title-holders Thailand, fielding three national players who joined the Incheon Asian Games squad consisting of Kitsada Somkhane, Kittinon Namkhunthod and Yossapol Wattana struggle hard to beat spirited Indonesia in a hard-fought five-set thriller 25-19 23-25 17-25 25-19 15-12.
In the whole match, Indonesia fared better in the serving skill as they had only 11 erratic serves, but Thailand’s serves were down in the dumps as they produced a total of mistaken 21 serves.
However, with the win, Thailand now stretch their victory in the biennial competition to five times in a row which comprised 2006 in Hanoi, Vietnam, 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2010 on home soil in Chiang Mai, 2012 in Vientiane, Laos and 2014 in Palembang, Indonesia.
Furthermore, with the victory of their men’s team, Thailand swept both gold medals on offer in the 17th Asean University Games Volleyball Championship.
The third-place playoff earlier saw Malaysia power past Singapore in gruelling four sets 25-22 25-18 17-25 25-23.
Third-place playoff: The Philippines b Malaysia 3-0 (25-11 25-11 25-16)
Championship match: Thailand b Indonesia 3-0 (25-8 25-13 28-26)
Third-place playoff: Malaysia b Singapore 3-1 (25-22 25-18 17-25 25-23)
Championship match: Thailand b Indonesia 3-2 (25-19 23-25 17-25 25-19 15-12)