Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, March 25, 2018 – Promising Danang Herlambang/Bintang Akbar smashed hosts Thailand’s dreams of sweeping both titles at stake in the 2018 Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Sports School competition site when the Indonesians produced a fantastic comeback 2-1 (14-21 27-25 15-13) win over Thailand’s Phanupong Thanan/Phichakon Narathon in the hard-fought men’s showdown.
The double-gender, three-day competition served as the Asian qualification tournament for the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Nanjing, China from June 26 to July 1, 2018 and the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 6 to 18, 2018.
Top three teams (country team) from both men’s and women’s events are assured of making the cut for the world meet and the similar quotas are also possible for the Youth Olympic Games.
Under the scorching sun with the temperature highs around 35 degrees Celsius, Danang/Bintang brushed off Pakistan’s Zarnab Khan/Afaq Khan 2-0 in the semi-final encounter, while the Thai duo, who, to their credit, captured the Asian U17 Beach Volleyball Championships two years ago on home soil, struggled to beat Kazakhstan’s Abdulmajid Mokhammad/Nurdos Aldash 2-1 in the other semi-final clash.
Going down in the first set 14-21, Danang/Bintang fought back effectively to keep the cheering Thai fans on their toes. Winning the hotly-contested second set 27-25, the Indonesians remained consistently and confidently to win the decider 15-13, the match and the gold medal.
“We are very happy to win the title. We lost the first set because we played nervously. It might be because this is our first international tournament. We moved faster and tried to come up with strong attacks and serves in the second and third sets. I think that’s the key to our win. After this, we will train much harder in preparation for the U19 World Championships in China. To improve our skills, we will train with the Indonesia’s senior teams and seek more opportunities to compete in international tournaments,” said Danang through interpreter coach Bambang Eko S.
In the third-place playoff, Kazakhs Mokhammad/Aldash downed Pakistan’s Zarnab/Afaq 21-11 21-11 to claim bronze.
Meanwhile, Thatsarida Singchuea/Pawarun Chanthawichai, who did not lose a set to their respective rivals, restored the Thai pride when they overpowered Chinese Zeng Jinjin/Cao Shuting 21-15 21-18 in the women’s final clash to add another title to their tally. Thatsarida and Pawarun had already captured the 2016 Asian U17 Championships in Ratchaburi and the Asian U21 Championships in Roi-Et, Thailand.
In the semi-finals earlier, Thatsarida/Pawarun powered past Indonesians Vitria Rahayu/Ragil Ningtyas 21-10 23-21, while Chinese Zeng/Cao beat Kazakhstan’s Alina Rachenko/Yelizaveta Yeropkina 21-17 25-23.
The Kazakh girls avenged the first-round loss to Vitria/Ragil to beat the Indonesians 21-16 21-18 in the third-place playoff. Rachenko/Yelizaveta’s victory helped Kazakhstan make a clean sweep of both bronze medals on offer in the Championships.
SEMI-FIANLS: Phanupong Thanan/Phichakon Narathon (Thailand) b Abdulmajid Mokhammad/Nurdos Aldash (Kazakhstan) 2-1 (21-9 19-21 15-4); Danang Herlambang/Bintang Akbar (Indonesia) b Zarnab Khan/Afaq Khan (Pakistan) 21-17 21-17
THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF: Abdulmajid Mokhammad/Nurdos Aldash (Kazakhstan) b Zarnab Khan/Afaq Khan (Pakistan) 2-0 (21-11 21-11)
FINAL: Danang Herlambang/Bintang Akbar (Indonesia) b Phanupong Thanan/Phichakon Narathon (Thailand) 2-1 (14-21 27-25 15-13)
SEMI-FINALS: Thatsarida Singchuea/Pawarun Chanthawichai (Thailand) b Vitria Rahayu/Ragil Ningtyas (Indonesia) 2-0 (21-10 23-21); Zeng Jinjin/Cao Shuting (China) b Alina Rachenko/Yelizaveta Yeropkina (Kazakhstan) 2-0 (21-17 25-23)
THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF: Alina Rachenko/Yelizaveta Yeropkina (Kazakhstan) b Vitria Rahayu/Ragil Ningtyas (Indonesia) 21-16 21-18
FINAL: Thatsarida Singchuea/Pawarun Chanthawichai (Thailand) b Zeng Jinjin/Cao Shuting (China) 21-15 21-18
5. China, Iran, Oman, Sri Lanka
9. Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Chinese Taipei
17. Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Vietnam
5. Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam
9. India, Maldives, Singapore, Chinese Taipei
13. Laos, Myanmar
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