Roi Et, Thailand, March 1, 2017 – Japanese Reika Murakami/Hana Deguchi, silver medallists at the last year’s edition, will lead the women’s charge in the “SMM” 2nd Asian U21 “Est Cola” Beach Volleyball Championships, the FIVB World U21 Championships Asian qualification round.
The Asian meet, which is due to take place in Roi Et from March 2 to 4, has attracted a total of 42 teams including 19 women’s sides from 16 countries to vie for top honours. More importantly, top five teams in each gender will secure berths to be pitted in the FIVB World U21 Beach Volleyball Championships, due to take place in Nanjing, China between July 11 and 16.
Participating nations comprise Kazakhstan, China, Hong Kong, Australia, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Japan, Vanuatu, New Zealand and hosts Thailand, which field four teams apiece in the men’s and women’s competitions.
General Technical Meeting and drawing of lots took place on Wednesday, with AVC BV Director Kritsada Panaseri presiding. A total of 23 men’s teams are split into eight pools (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H) of three teams apiece, except Pool A, featuring only two teams. In the women’s category, 19 teams in total are divided into six pools (A, B, C, D, E, F) of three teams each, but four teams will be contested in Pool F. The round-robin pool preliminaries will kick off at 8am on March 2.
According to the drawing of lots, top seeds Thailand 1’s Marudet Buntem/Jatoopon Saenyoot and Kazakhstan 2’s Alimkhan Kushaliyev/Andrey Belunin are in Pool A in the men’s event, with second seeds China 1’s Liu Chuanyong/Tao ChengAn, Thailand 2’s Shaman Phiset/Akkarapon Tumdee and Hong Kong 2’s Chan Kui Wai/Chan Lay Heng Dinghy in Pool B.
Third seeds Australia 1’s Paul Burnett/Marcus Ferguson are in Pool C with Iran 2’s Ali Shahbazi/Sina Enayati and Oman 2’s Hood Al-Jalaboubi/Majid Al-Shibli. Pool D consists of Kazakhstan 1’s Yeqor Dmitriyev/Yerland Yelubayev, Iran 1’s Alireza Aghajani-Ghasab/Javad Firouzpourbabdpei and Sri Lanka 2’s Don Isthomu Kankanamge/Tharindu Madushanka Karunarathna;
Thailand’s Marudet Buntem last year teamed up with Banlue Nakprakhong to take silver medal.
In the women’s event, Thailand’s Sirinuch Kawfong/Saranya Laesood, Sri Lanka 2’s Wattage Shehani Ashanga/Warankulasuriya Ramesa Mudushani Peris and Hong Kong 2’s Tsang Tsz Hung/Ng Wing Laam are in Pool A, while China 1’s Cao Shuting/Wang Jiaxi face Indonesia’s Maria Dwiningtyas/Vitria Dwi Rahayu and Thailand 2’s Kaewfa Noramart/Nasuda Janmong in Pool B. Japan 1’s Reika Murakami/Hana Deguch are in Pool C with China 2’s Zhang XinChen/Wang Yiing and Sri Lanka 1’s Manis Hewage Hashini Malsha Priyamali/Asurappulige/Tharaki Nelum Priyadarshani.
The Japanese duo last year clinched silver medal in the previous episode after going down 1-2 to China’s Chen Jiali/Li Jiaowei in the final showdown.
A scintillating win of Zhao Chaowei/Yan Tingyuan over Thailand’s Marudet/Banlue in the men’s showdown handed China a clean sweep of both gold medals on offer in the previous Asian U21 meet in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand.