Volleyball News

Surabaya, Indonesia, July 30, 2017 – Hosts Indonesia made history on Sunday when they produced an incredible 3-2 comeback victory over powerhouses Iran to advance to the semi-finals of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship for the first time in 42 years since their debut appearance in the inaugural Asian meet in 1975.

Indonesia recovered from going down the first two sets 18-25 18-25 to Iran before clawing their ways back to win the remaining three sets 25-23 26-24 15-11 in an exhausting 122-minute battle In front of more than 2,000 boisterous home crowds at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium.

After the match, the Indonesians were on cloud nine. They rushed to the middle of the venue, hugged one another and danced in a circle. The home fans turned the venue into a party place as they danced cheerfully and shouted noisily. Everyone inside the venue was all smiles, except the Iranians who had heads low in great despair caused by the loss, some in tears.

Indonesia took part in the first Asian meet in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia, where they finished a distant 6th place out of seven participating teams. Since then, they have never finished among top four in any edition. Their best performance was the sixth position in 1975, 1991, 1999 and 2009.

Iran, the 2011 and 2013 Asian champions and the only Asian team joining the fray in the FIVB World League Group 1 this season, did not send their senior team, but instead fielded a strong U23 squad this time in their final preparation for the next month’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt.

“I would like to thank all the Indonesian fans who boosted the team’s morale despite going down the first two sets. The cheering home fans proved a great asset to our historic success today,” Indonesia’s head coach Samsul Jais commented in the official press conference shortly after the match on Sunday.

“I’ve never thought before that we can beat any team in the top eight places. Seeing our team go down the first two sets to Iran, everyone might think that Indonesia must surrender with the straight-set loss. However, I’ve never thought that way. I think if the on-going game has yet been ended, you can’t say that we lost the match. I then asked my players not to give up easily and instead, play confidently without making any hasty unforced mistakes. Imagine, Iran have modern technology with well-qualified staff coaches and officials, while we have nothing. Still, we proved ourselves by beating the much stronger side. We will try our best to make another history by attempting to beat Japan in the Monday’s semi-final clash.”

In the Monday’s semi-finals, Indonesia will go up against defending and eight-time Asian champions Japan, which stunned hosts and defending champions Iran to capture their 8th Asian title in Tehran two years ago. On Sunday, the Japanese performed brilliantly in the quarter-final match against Australia to beat the old foes 25-21 25-16 25-22. Earlier this month, Japan have already beaten Australia 3-2 at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool B in Canberra, Australia. However, both teams have already qualified for the world meet after a 1-2 finish in the tournament.

Earlier, Kazakhstan became the first team to secure a semi-final berth of top-flight championship, their first time in 24 years, following their 3-0 (25-22 25-22 25-23) demolition of Chinese Taipei on Sunday.

Kazakhstan, 11th place at the FIVB World League Group 3 this season, have never made it to the top four teams at the Asian meet since 1993 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, where they went down to Korea 0-3 in the final showdown to return with silver medal. They came within a whisker of entering the top-four round in 2009, but had to be content with the fifth position.

“We have played Chinese Taipei for several times. They are one of the strong teams in this tournament. However, if you think about China, Iran and Chinese Taipei, of course they are strong. However, if you happen to play team, Chinese Taipei will be the first team we can beat because they are not that tall like China and Iran. We next will have to play Korea. There are six good players in the Korean side and we have to think how to cope well with their tactics when we meet in the semi-finals,” commented Kazakhstan’s 47-year-old Igor Nikolchenko, who moved to Altay Volleyball Club in Kazakhstan, leading the side to back-to-back National League titles in 2016 and 2017.

Kazakhstan are due to set up a semi-final thriller against undefeated Korea, which thrashed China in straight sets 25-18 25-19 25-23 in the quarter-finals at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium on Sunday, relegating the bronze medallists at the previous episode in Tehran, Iran two years ago to the 5th-8th classification.

Korea, which finished sixth place at the FIVB World League Group 2 this season, returned from the previous Asian meet in Tehran two years ago with a disappointing 7th position.

Meanwhile, in the 13th-16th classification round, Sri Lanka sent Hong Kong packing in straight sets 25-18 25-13 25-17 and Iraq outclassed Saudi Arabia 25-20 25-19 25-17.

The 9th-12th classification round saw Qatar struggle hard to beat Pakistan in hard-fought five-setter 25-19 20-25 17-25 25-18 15-12 and Vietnam overpower the South East Asian (SEA) Games rivals Thailand in five sets 25-19 25-16 21-25 16-25 15-10.

Korea b China 3-0 (25-18 25-19 25-23)
Indonesia b Iran 3-2 (18-25 18-25 25-23 26-24 15-11)
Japan b Australia 3-0 (25-21 25-16 25-22)
Kazakhstan b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-22 25-22 25-23)

9th-12th playoffs
Qatar b Pakistan 3-2 (25-19 20-25 17-25 25-18 15-12)
Vietnam b Thailand 3-2 (25-19 25-16 21-25 16-25 15-10)

13th-16th playoffs
Sri Lanka b Hong Kong 3-0 (25-18 25-13 25-17)
Iraq b Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-20 25-19 25-17)

Monday, July 31, 2017
At Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium
5th-8th playoffs
11.30am: Chinese Taipei v China
14.00pm: Iran v Australia

16.30pm: Korea v Kazakhstan
19.00pm: Indonesia v Japan

At Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium
11.30am: 15th-16th playoff: Hong Kong v Saudi Arabia
14.00pm: 13th-14th playoff: Sri Lanka v Iraq
16.30pm: 11th-12th playoff: Thailand v Pakistan
19.00pm: 9th-10th playoff: Qatar v Vietnam


Related links of AVC

AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: https://twitter.com/avcvolley
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation