Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, July 16, 2016- China set up the final showdown with title-holders Iran at the SMM 18th Taichung Bank Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship after powering past Korea and Japan respectively in the semi-finals on Saturday at Kaohsiung Arena.The Sunday’s showdown will be a final rematch of the previous edition two years ago in Manama, Bahrain. There, Iran thrashed China in straight sets to win their fifth title. Furthermore, it will be the third time both teams have met in the final showdown. Iran beat China in the last two finals including the 3-1 win in2008 in Tehran. However, both teams are assured of winning berths to compete at the next year’s FIVB Men’s U21 Volleyball World Championship.
China b Korea 3-0
It was a keen competition between China and Korea as both were eager for the final. After the intense three sets 25-23, 25-17, 26-24, China snatched the last ticket to the final of the 18th Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship.
At the beginning of the first set, both teams showed great ambition. No. 7 of China, Wang Jingyi, grasped many chances to spike thanks to his teammates’ support. Although making several errors, his spikes at the crucial moment lighted up the morale of China. On the Korean side, No. 15 Lim Donghyeok, as the center of their attack strategy, fired touching-out spikes often, leading the team on the heel of China. However, China proved their advantage at crucial points and took the hard-fought first set 25-23.
In the second set, China enhanced the defense, which closed off the attacks from Korea. No. 2, Liu, Zhihao and No. 10 Guo Lei double blocked successfully many times. Before the second technical timeout, China got a 16-9 lead. The changes of Korea came too slowly whereas the defense of China became airtight and tough. Soon China finished the second set with 25-17.
Despite losing two sets, Korea revived in the third set as they came to a tie for thirteen times. Both team committed more errors in this set under the big pressure, however the mighty Chinese withstood the Korea’s counterattacks at the very last moment at 24-24 tie and successfully finished the set in 26-24 following a powerful spike and a perfect block.
“We tried our best to claim the victory, but still remained to play in a relaxed way. Everyone was nervous at the beginning; however, keeping relaxed made us perform better.” said Mr. Ju Genyin, head coach of China. “There was no so-called strong team or weak team in the semi-finals. Each team that could play in the semi-finals was outstanding and tough. All we could do was try our best and never give up.”
“It looked easy that China beat Korea in straight sets; in fact, it was a hard game. I am glad that the team withstood the great pressure.” said No.4 Jiang Hongbin of China.
Iran b Japan by 3-1
With almost the same lineups on Saturday at the semi-finals, Iran had the chance to pull off a 3-0 win over Japan after taking the first two sets with the same margin 25-16, but their errors arose in the third set, giving Japan the hope to recoup the set. As Iran lost their touch in the final assault, the stubborn Japanese played to their utmost and finally won the set 31-29.
Recovered from the regretful loss in the third set, Iran soon took control of the fourth set by breaking the defense of Japan and smoothly claimed the victory by securing the set 25-19.
No.12 Amirhossein of Iran bagged the topping 25 points, while No. 11 Arai Yudai of Japan contributed the most to his team with 19 points.
Thailand b Sri Lanka 3-1
Thailand showed their power, and grabbed the triumph over Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 19-25, 25-21).
The first two sets witnessed Thailand’s quickness highlighted by No.15 Kiting Suksala’s three pretty spikes in a row. Sri Lanka made efforts to narrow the point gaps but in vain. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka managed to turn around the victory in the third set thanks to the errors by Thailand, especially in serves. The intense fourth set saw Sri Lanka enhance their attacks to chase from behind to even the score. However Thailand were unwilling to be hauled into the tie breaker. By blocking more precisely, Thailand finished the fourth set 25-21.
The best scorer went to No. 4 Fernando of Sri Lanka as he scored 17 points from 50 attempts while Thailand’s No. 14 Supaphat was more efficient in acquiring 15 points from 36 attempts.
Turkmenistan b Kazakhstan 3-1
In the first set, Kazakhstan soon launched attacks, led by No. 7 Fomenko and No. 1 Sulemanov. Mighty attacks from both wings made Turkmenistan stressful, who fell behind at the beginning. As the game went, the errors happened to Kazakhstan; however, good serves and spikes prevented them from the disaster. With the destructive spike from No. 1 Sulemanov, Kazakhstan safely obtained the first setwith 25-22.
Poor in serving, Kazakhstan wasted their effort carelessly. The penetrating spikes from Turkmenistan destroyed the defense from Kazakhstan. No. 7 of Turkmenistan, Seyitgeldiyev was an all-round player, leading the team to a 20-14 lead, forcing Kazakhstan to call a time out. Back to the court, Turkmenistan went on their attacks, featuring that the captain No. 11 Atayev spiked the last point to even the set 25-20.
Profited from the attacks by No. 4 Garlyyev, No. 7 Seyitgeldiyev one after another, Turkmenistan did not expend too much energy to take the third set in 25-19.
Kazakhstan strengthened their attacks in the fourth set but their defective blocks gave Turkmenistan the opportunity to finish the set 25-23.
In the 9th-10th final, No. 5 Alexandar of Australia led the team with topping 20 points to upset Qatar 3-1 (25-20, 25-13, 23-25, 25-19) to clinch the 9th place.
The hosts Chinese Taipei were unable to stop their losing steak and finally slotted at the disappointing 12th place as they were defeated by Iraq 1-3 (21-25, 26-24, 18-25, 26-28).
Pakistan prevailed over Saudi Arabia 3-1 (25-13, 25-19, 22-25, 28-26) Saturday and were finally ranked the 13th place at the Championship, while Hong Kong, China had to finish at the bottom of the table as they were narrowly edged out by Bahrain 2-3 (21-25, 25-18, 26-24, 16-25, 10-15)
Unbeaten China and Iran will fight it out in the Sunday’s final for one more title to put in their showcase, while Japan and Korea will vie for the bronze medal. Turkmenistan will challenge Thailand for the the 5th place while Kazakhstan and Sri Lanka for the 7th place.