Surabaya, Indonesia, August 1, 2017 – Japan underlined their supremacy over the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship after a 3-1 (25-13 25-20 25-27 25-23) demolition of Kazakhstan in the final showdown at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium on Tuesday, stretching their invincibility at the top-flight competition to nine out of 11 finals they have entered.
Against Kazakhstan in the climax on Tuesday, Japan played a perfect match as they fielded several individual talents including Yuki Ishikawa and Masahiro Yanagida, both of them have been playing professional league in Italy.
As Kazakhstan pulled off an upset 3-2 win against Korea in the semi-finals, the Japanese also performed brilliantly to stop hosts Indonesia’s remarkable run in the Asia’s top-tier competition with a straight-set win in the other semi-final clash.
“To win the final is a great, great thing. Before this tournament, we have already won the World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool B in Australia. I think we were not in good condition and we had bad performances from the very beginning of this tournament. We just made it better and better day by day. However, many teams such as Kazakhstan, Indonesia and China have already proved that they are coming stronger. We made several mistakes in passing and blocking in the third set, which we lost to Kazakhstan. We just hit the balls to the rivals’ blocks. After this, we will have a 10-day rest and prepare for the World Grand Champions’ Cup at home,” commented Japan’s head coach Yuichi Nakagaichi.
With the dramatic win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday, Japan retained their Asian title, making nine in total. Japan have already won the Asian title for eight times – 1975 in Melbourne, Australia, 1983 in Tokyo, Japan, 1987 in Kuwait, 1991 in Perth, Australia, 1995 in Doha, Qatar, 2005 in Suphan Buri, Thailand, 2009 in Manila, the Philippines and 2015 in Tehran, where they stunned hosts Iran 3-1 to reign supreme.
The Kazakhstan’s second-placed finish was also their significant success in 24 years because in 1993 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, the Kazakhs also clinched silver after going down to Korea in straight sets in the showdown.
In the third-place playoff earlier, Korea proved too much for Indonesia as the former four-time Asian champions sent the host side packing 25-16 25-21 25-13 to finish third in the 16-team tournament.
Korea, suffering the 3-2 upset loss to fast-improving Kazakhstan in the semi-finals the previous day, came up in full strength to mercilessly crush Indonesia in straight sets for the bronze medal, leaving the host team to finish the historic fourth place in 42 years at the biennial top-tier competition since its inception in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia.
“Since this is the last match of our team, we gathered to support each other and performed very well. We lost to Kazakhstan in the semi-finals just because we underestimated the rivals. Earlier, we beat China and we were proud of the success. But against the host team, we played nervously and made a lot of mistakes. The third place we achieved is a good thing we can obtain here. It told us a lot of things, especially dedication of all my players. I really appreciated their hard work. After this, we will take some rest before resuming training in our preparation for the World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool A in Iran later this month,” Korea’s head coach Kim Hochul commented.
Meanwhile, Iran, fielding a formidable U23 squad in their final preparation for the forthcoming FIVB Volleyball Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt, took revenge on China with a magnificent come-from-behind four-set victory to secure the fifth place.
For Iran, the dramatic 15-25 25-17 25-23 25-21 victory was a sweet revenge over China, to whom the former successive two-time Asian champions went down in straight sets in the top-eight playoff match earlier.
“I would like to congratulate my players, staff coaches in my team because we beat one of the most strongest teams in Asia. For our U23 squad, beating a senior team is very important. In the first set, we did a lot of mistakes and a moment later we came up with improved performance, while China made more mistakes than us in the following sets. We now have to go back to prepare our team for the FIVB Men’s U23 World Championship in Egypt. I hope my team will do a better job out there,” Iran’s Argentine head coach Juan Manuel Cichello commented.
In the 7th-8th playoff match earlier, Chinese Taipei proved an impossible nut to crack for Australia after cruising past the hefty rivals in hard-fought five-set thriller 25-23 25-20 21-25 23-25 15-11 to finish 7th place on Tuesday.
In the simple awarding presentation and the closing ceremony, Japan stood proudly on the top of the podium to capture the Winners’ Trophy and gold medal. The silver medal went to Kazakhstan, while Korea had to be content with the third place and bronze medal.
TUESDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
7th-8th Playoff: Chinese Taipei b Australia 3-2 (25-23 25-20 21-25 23-25 15-11)
5th-6th Playoff: Iran b China 3-1 (15-25 25-17 25-23 25-21)
Bronze medal match: Korea b Indonesia 3-0 (25-16 25-21 25-13)
Championship match: Japan b Kazakhstan 3-1 (25-13 25-20 27-25 25-23)
7. Chinese Taipei
14. Sri Lanka
15. Saudi Arabia
16. Hong Kong
BEST OUTSIDE SPIKER
1. Yuki Ishikawa (Japan No.14)
2. Vitaliy Varivodin (Kazakhstan No.18)
BEST MIDDLE BLOCKERS
1. Kadirkhanov Nodirkhan (Kazakhstan No.12)
2. Ri Haku (Japan No.15)
BEST OPPOSITE SPIKER
Rivan Nurmulki (Indonesia No.12)
Oh Jaeseong (Korea No.8)
Fujii Naonobu (Japan No.3)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Yuki Ishikawa (Japan No.14)
Yuichi Nakagaichi (Japan)
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