CHINA IN FINAL REMATCH WITH REIGNING CHAMPS JAPAN AT ASIAN WOMEN’S U17 CHAMPIONSHIP
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 26, 2018 – Formidable China powered past Korea in epic 3-2 comeback win to set up the Sunday’s final showdown with title-holders Japan at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium.
Korea will next contest the third-place playoff against hosts Thailand, which also went down in hard-fought five sets to Japan in the other semi-final clash on Saturday..
Chinese Taipei are due to take on Kazakhstan on Sunday, vying for the 5th place, while Iran and India will battle it out for the 7th place and New Zealand to compete in the 9th-10th place playoff against Australia.
As expected, the Saturday’s clashes promised thrills and spills for the Thai enthusiasts as teams entered the action-packed battles on the penultimate day of the 11-day competitive competition and they did not let the fans down with their utmost efforts and amazing determination.
The incredible 19-25 25-21 25-27 25-16 15-10 win in the semi-final encounter against Korea on Saturday helped the Chinese side set up a final rematch of the previous edition in Chongqing with reigning and seven-time champions Japan, the team they went down 1-3 in the pool plays earlier.
“It was a tough match against Korea. My players are tall, but can move slowly. So, they made so many mistakes. Staff coaches help teach them how to play right. When the players did wrong things, staff coaches corrected them. This is just because they trained only one month before coming here and that’s the reason why they played nervously in this championship. Yu Changwen also made his debut effort as the China head coach and to steer the team to the final showdown is a great success. It proved that his career is on the right track,” China team manager Li Guodong commented.
“We next play Japan in the final clash. In my point of view, Japan are a very strong team. To beat them is not that easy. They play a fast game and their attacks are very aggressive. Our chance to beat the Japanese is just 40 per cent, but we will do our best.”
In the other semi-final clash, indomitable Japan moved a step closer to retaining their title as they pulled off a stunning 3-2 (22-25 25-15 23-25 25-16 15-2) comeback win over hosts Thailand.
“It was a tough match. Thailand are a very strong team and their fans made our game more difficult. However, my girls also played well and despite a daunting challenge from the host side, they still performed well without any pressure. Thailand’s No.10 player, Saowapa Soosuk, played well and we just tried hard to block her to reduce the hosts’ aggression. The fifth set was unbelievable as we led all the ways. We will try our best in the final match against China,” Japan coach Daichi Saegusa commented.
In the 5th-8th playoffs earlier, fast-improving Kazakhstan struggled to beat India in dramatic five-setter 25-19 23-25 25-23 19-25 15-12 over the Indians, to whom they lost in straight sets at the recent “Princess Cup” 20th South East Asian Women’s U17 Championship at the same competition here. The Kazakhs will fight against Chinese Taipei for the 5th position, with India taking on Iran in the 7th-8th playoff. On Saturday, Chinese Taipei stole the limelight in the 5th-8th playoffs match against Iran to demolish the spirited rivals in straight sets 25-13 25-13 25-15.
Meanwhile, Malaysia made an impressive 3-2 (16-25 25-21 25-18 17-25 15-13) comeback win over Hong Kong to finish 11th position at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Saturday.
“My players played not very well. Actually, I want to change the formation in the first set because my player Irene injured her knee. However, they could not perform well and then I changed back. Irene tried to maintain her form and we then came back to win. This is our first win in this championship. We trained only one month in preparation for this championship, but for me I think it was not enough. As far as I’m concerned, our stamina has drastically dropped match by match. We competed in the recent Princess Cup and after that tournament, my girls should have played better, but they came up with a disappointing form. However, to finish 11th in this championship is not that bad,” Malaysia head coach Moh Hiong Kwong said.
SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2018
09.00am: 9th-10th playoff: New Zealand v Australia
11.30am: 7th-8th playoff: Iran v India
14.00pm: 5th-6th playoff: Chinese Taipei v Kazakhstan
16.30pm: Bronze-medal match: Thailand v Korea
19.00pm: Championship match: Japan v China
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