HOSTS BAHRAIN JOIN IRAN, JAPAN AND CHINESE TAIPEI FOR FIRST DAY WINS AT ASIAN MEN’S U20 CHAMPIONSHIP
Manama, Bahrain, July 21, 2018 – Strong teams brushed off lower-ranked sides on the opening day of the 19th Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship at the Isa Sport City Halls as in-form Iran pulled off a stunning 3-0 victory over title-holders China in a 2016 final rematch.
The championship serves as the Asian qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. Only the top two teams from the Manama meet will make the cut for the next year’s world meet.
Iran, which went down 2-3 to China in the final showdown at the previous edition in Chinese Taipei two years ago, got the eight-day championship off to a brilliant start with a convincing straight-set 25-22, 25-13, 25-22 win over fighting China in Pool A. Talented Morteza Sharifi gave a fantastic performance as the top scorer in the field.
In Pool B, Japan served a straight-set 25-19, 25-17, 27-25 victory over Thailand, unleashing a total of 6 service winners. Going down the first two sets, the opponents came back much stronger for a commanding 24-21 lead in the third set, needing only one more point to wrap up the set. Still, they just let the set win slip through their fingers. Japan gradually pulled their game together to catch them at 24-24 and went on to win the hard-fought set 27-25 and mach.
Sri Lanka narrowly lost the first set 23-25 to Kazakhstan in Pool C, but took the crowd supports advantage to win the remaining three sets 25-16, 29-27, 25-10, while Bahrain delighted home fans with a scintillating 25-23, 28-26, 25-15 win over Iraq in their first Pool D encounter.
Elsewhere, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India and Malaysia registered their first wins in Pools E, F, G and H respectively. Chinese Taipei thrashed Saudi Arabia in straight sets 25-18 25-19 25-18, while Hong Kong recovered from the first-set down to win a closely-contested four-setter 20-25 25-22 26-24 26-24 against determined Jordan. Lap Yan Tam charted a total of 19 points from 15 attacks, 3 blocks, and a service for the winning side.
Malaysia were handed a comfortable 3-0 (25-9, 25-19, 25-10) victory over Maldives, while India bagged their first win without sweating as their rivals Uzbekistan earlier withdrew from the top-notch competition.
Chinese Taipei b Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-18)
Japan b Thailand 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 27-25)
Iran b China 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-22)
Bahrain b Iraq 3-0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-15)
Malaysia b Maldives 3-0 (25-9, 25-19, 25-10)
Hong Kong b Jordan 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 26-24, 26-24)
Sri Lanka b Kazakhstan 3-1 (23-25, 25-16, 29-27, 25-10)
July 22, 2018 (Local time)
Pakistan v Chinese Taipei
Macao v Maldives
Korea v China
New Zealand v India
Turkmenistan v Thailand
Australia v Sri Lanka
Qatar v Bahrain
Emirates v Jordan
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