JAPAN END CHINA REIGN AND LAND FIRST ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 TITLE IN 10 YEARS
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 17, 2018 – Japan underlined their supremacy over the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium after 3-0 (25-20 25-14 25-20) blitz over defending and 12-time champions China on Sunday.
This was their last match and it was very much a game for pride. China, also current world U20 champions, came back much stronger this time after two shock defeats to Japan and Thailand in the pool plays, while Japan were riding wave of confidence as they have never lost a set to their respective rivals heading to the Sunday’s final.
The showdown was a nice bonus for China and Japan as both sides have already secured berths for the next year’s FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy following their win in the semi-finals.
Japan won their sixth Asian title in Bac Ninh on Sunday with a remarkable unbeaten run and without dropping a set to their rivals. They captured the first Asian crown in 1984 and had made their mark since then to dominate the top-tier tournament in 1986, 1988 and 1990.
The latest victory of Japan in the championship dated back 10 years ago in Taipei, where they beat hosts Chinese Taipei 3-0 to stamp their authority at the 14th edition in 2008.
China had already won 12 Asian titles so far, beating Korea in the 1992 edition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for their debut title. After that, China ruled the roost in the championship, clinching their second in 1994 and went on to win in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The Japan’s victory over China was also a sweet revenge as China defeated them in the final showdown of the previous two editions in 2014 in Taipei and in 2016 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The credit of the Japan’s significant success in Bac Ninh went to coach Kiyoshi Abo, who shot into fame since he led a Japanese squad to victory at the Asian Women’s U23 Championship last year in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Kiyoshi became the accomplished coach who has given Japan two Asian titles within two years (2017 and 2018).
“Of course, to beat China is really a tough task for us and my players did have pressure playing them. The key point for our win are service and attacks. China are very tall and their strong points are from blocking, so to cope well with their fine blocking, we must have good attacks. In this championship, I just need my players to develop skills and gain experience. I think they learn a lot of things here,” Japan head coach Kiyoshi Abo commented.
Meanwhile, Thailand overcame a sturdy challenge from Chinese Taipei to beat the formidable rivals in dramatic four sets 25-22 26-24 17-25 25-23 to finish third place, the similar position that the Thai girls achieved at the previous edition two years ago at home in Nakhon Ratchasima. Chinese Taipei jumped two levels from the 6th place in Nakhon Ratchasima to the 4th place in Bac Ninh.
“Despite the victory, I’m not quite happy with my girls’ performance as they made too many unforced mistakes, especially in the third set. Before the match, I was so confident that my team would beat Chinese Taipei for sure. However, after we played with a lot of mistakes in the third set, I think the cause was that my girls could not maintain their concentration and lack discipline. Fortunately, we won in four sets. If not, we have to get headache in correcting our game plan in the decider,” said Thailand head coach Chamnan Dokmai.
Korea remained in fifth place, the similar position they had taken in Nakhon Ratchasima two years ago, following a sensational 25-17 25-16 25-23 victory over hosts Vietnam, which snatched the surprise 4th place at the previous episode in Nakhon Ratchasima.
“I’m happy with our target of winning this match we have achieved and I would like to thank all my players who are part of the victory. However, our initial target in this championship is a place in the semi-finals. Vietnam in the past two years did a very good job to beat us in the quarter-finals, but here they looked very tired. Still, I think they played well. For Korea, we played our best game against the hosts,” Korea head coach Cho Wanki commented.
At the Bac Ninh University Hall, Kazakhstan downed Iran in closely-contested battle for 3-1 (25-15 22-25 25-23 25-12) victory to take the 7th position in this championship, leaving Iran to return with the 8th place.
New Zealand grabbed the 9th place after thrashing Australia in the all-Oceanians affair 25-15 25-18 25-19. The Aussies came in 10th position. India survived a serious threat from Hong Kong to beat the rivals in exhausting five sets 16-25 22-25 25-19 25-17 15-6 for the 11th place, allowing Hong Kong to leave Bac Ninh with the 12th position.
In the 13th-14th playoff, Malaysia outclassed Macao in straight sets 25-21 26-24 25-21, with Sri Lanka on the bottom of the standing in 15th position.
AT BAC NINH GYMNASIUM
5th-6th playoff: Korea b Vietnam 3-0 (25-17 25-16 25-23)
Bronze-medal match: Thailand b Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-22 26-24 17-25 25-13)
Championship match: Japan b China 3-0 (25-20 25-14 25-20)
AT BAC NINH UNIVERSITY HALL
13th-14th playoff: Malaysia b Macao 3-0 (25-21 26-24 25-11)
11th-12th playoff: India b Hong Kong 3-2 (16-25 22-25 25-19 25-17 15-6)
9th-10th playoff: New Zealand b Australia 3-0 (25-15 25-18 25-19)
7th-8th playoff: Kazakhstan b Iran 3-1 (25-15 22-25 25-23 25-12)
1. Japan…………..qualified for 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship
2. China……………qualified for 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship
4. Chinese Taipei
9. New Zealand
12. Hong Kong
15. Sri Lanka
Best Outside Spiker
– Thanacha Sooksod No.19 Thailand
– Yoshida Ayumi No.5 Japan
Best Middle Blockers
– Wen Yi-chin No.12 Chinese Taipei
– Jiao Dian No.5 China
Xu Luyao No.1 China
Kanoka Sonoda No.13 Japan
Sayaka Daikuzono No.12 Japan
Most Valuable Player
Kanon Sonoda No.13 Japan
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