JAPAN WIN BACK-TO-BACK ASIAN MEN’S U18 CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE
Tabriz, Iran, July 6, 2018 – Japan underlined their supremacy over the 12th Asian Men’s U18 Volleyball Championship at the Poursharifi Gymnasium after a magnificent 3-1 comeback victory over Korea in the final showdown on Friday.
Top four teams in this top-tier championship – Japan, Korea, Iran and Chinese Taipei, qualified for the 2019 FIVB Men’s U19 World Championship in Egypt.
In a final rematch against old foes Korea, the team they had beaten in straight sets in the final clash at the previous episode in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar last year, the in-form Japanese recovered from the first-set down 20-25 to take the remaining three sets 25-14 25-21 25-15 for the Asian Men’s U18 title for two times in succession.
In the bronze-medal match earlier, Iran, which captured the world crown at the last year’s Bahrain-hosted FIVB Men’s U19 World Championship, proved too much for Chinese Taipei as the host side pulled off a dramatic 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20) win over the formidable visitors. The victory was a sweet revenge over Chinese Taipei, to whom the hosts went down in straight sets in Pool B preliminaries earlier.
“In my point of view, Japan, Korea, Iran and Chinese Taipei deserved the Men’s U19 World Championship berths. I hope these four teams become good representatives of Asia in the next year’s world meet in Egypt. Aside from losing and winning, the level of our team’s match was high in terms of quality and efficiency. One important part of coaching is to take a risk and in the third-place playoff match against Chinese Taipei, I used Amir Hossein Khani, who defied all the analysis of the opponents. It was a big risk but it worked out pretty well. Not only I am happy for the medal we won, but also my players who found the opportunity to experience an official tournament. We have to try our best to remove our weak points ahead of our participation in the World Championship in an effort of retaining our world title in Egypt,” Iran head coach Reza Vakili stated.
Thailand, which finished 6th place at the previous edition in Nay Pyi Taw, revived their fortunes this time to return with a well-earned 5th position following their epic 3-2 (22-25 25-17 19-25 25-23 16-14) comeback win over hefty China. The Chinese claimed bronze medal at the previous Asian meet, but returned from Tabriz with a disappointing sixth place.
In the 7th-8th playoff earlier, India proved an impossible nut to crack for Australia after cruising past the strongly-built opponents in straight sets 25-22, 25-22, 25-19.
In the awards presentation, the eventual champions Japan stood proudly on the top of the podium to capture the Winners’ Trophy and gold medal. The silver medal went to Korea, while Iran had to be content with the third place and bronze medal.
DAY 8, FINAL DAY
7th-8th PLAYOFF: India b Australia 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19)
5th-6th PLAYOFF: Thailand b China 3-2 (22-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-23, 16-14)
BRONZE-MEDAL MATCH: Iran b Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20)
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Japan b Korea 3-1 (20-25, 25-14, 25-21, 25-15)
JAPAN ….qualified for 2019 FIVB Men’s U19 World Championship in Egypt
CHINESE TAIPEI ….qualified
BEST OUTSIDE SPIKERS
1. Chang Hung-Yeh (Chinese Taipei No. 14)
2. Park Seungsu (Korea No. 11)
BEST MIDDLE BLOCKERS
1. Alireza Abdollahi (Iran No.14)
2. Ito Riko (Japan No. 04)
BEST OPPOSITE SPIKER
Bardia Saadat (Iran No. 06)
Jang Jiwon (Korea No. 04)
Taiga Itoyama (Japan No.06)
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Mizumachi Taito (Japan No.1)
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