IRAN, JAPAN, SRI LANKA AND BAHRAIN LEAD POOLS IN ASIAN MEN’S U20 CHAMPIONSHIP
Manama, Bahrain, July 23, 2018 – Iran, Japan, Sri Lanka and hosts Bahrain captured top spots in their pools in the 19th Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship at the Isa Sport City Hall on Monday, as Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India and Macao did likewise in the lower-ranked pools.
Iran and Japan continued their unbeaten run without losing a set to their rivals on Monday. The Iranians proved a cut above Korea after a 3-0 demolition of the spirited rivals, while the Japanese thrashed Turkmenistan in a totally lopsided battle. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Macao, Hong Kong and Australia also made their marks with sensational wins over their respective opponents on the final day of the pool round-robin preliminaries.
Japan spent 58 minutes in ousting Turkmenistan 25-12, 25-12, 25-11 in Pool B, with Ryuki Ban scoring a team-high 10 points including 7 attacks for the winning side. Their confidence boosted following a stunning win over reigning champions China, Iran seized the opportunity to be standout in a clash against Korea for a hard-fought 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 win in Pool A. Iran received strong efforts from Morteza Sharifi and Porya Yali, both of them scored 13 points apiece.
The other matches on Monday saw Hong Kong overcome their sluggish start to cruise past the United Arab Emirates in closely-contested four-setter 20-25 25-22 25-20 25-14 in Pool F and Iraq power past Qatar 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18), thanks to the spectacular spikes from Maher Adnan Abdul Wahaad and Abdulrasool Mohamed Ali Anwer, both handed the winning team 13 crucial points each.
In Pool H, Macao struggled hard to beat Malaysia in a hard-fought five-set thriller 30-28 20-25 25-23 23-25 15-13, with Saudi Arabia seeing off Pakistan in straight sets 25-19 25-22 25-21 in Pool E and Australia routing Kazakhstan 25-20 25-22 25-8.
At the conclusion of the Monday’s preliminaries, participating teams in each pool were ranked according to their performances, with Iran, Korea and China, which finished first, second and third respectively in Pool A, being classified as R1 (ranked 1st), R2 (ranked 2nd) and R3 (ranked 3rd). Japan, Thailand and Turkmenistan, respective first, second and third in Pool B, were ranked R4, R5 and R6.
The remaining teams were also classified as follows: R7 (Sri Lanka), R8 (Australia), R9 (Kazakhstan), R10 (Bahrain), R11 (Iraq), R12 (Qatar), R13 (Chinese Taipei), R14 (Saudi Arabia), R15 (Pakistan), R16 (Hong Kong), R17 (Jordan), R18 (UAE), R19 (India), R20 (New Zealand), R21 (Uzbekistan), R22 (Macao), R23 (Malaysia) and R24 (Maldives).
On Tuesday, top eight teams (teams classified as R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7 and R8) will have a rest day, while the lower-ranked sides (R9, R10, R11 to R24) will contest the classification for 9-16 ranking teams. The Tuesday’s winners will go up against the top eight teams (R1-R8) in the classification for 1-8 and 9-16 on Wednesday.
A total of 23 teams are competing in the top-flight championship, vying for the top honour and the two slots to contest the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. Earlier, Uzbekistan withdrew from the competition.
At the previous edition two years ago in Chinese Taipei, China reigned supreme after narrowly beating Iran in the final showdown. Both China and Iran represented Asia in the 16-team 2017 world meet in Czech Republic to respectively finish 6th and 5th places. Japan also qualified for the world meet as one of the world’s six teams with the best world ranking to finish 13th position.
Japan b Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-11)
Iran b Korea 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19)
Iraq b Qatar 3-1 (25-19, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18)
Saudi Arabia b Pakistan 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-21)
Hong Kong b UAE 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14)
Macao b Malaysia 3-2 (30-28, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-13)
Australia b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-8)
July 24, 2018 (Local time)
(R13-R20) Chinese Taipei v New Zealand
(R12-R21) Qatar v Uzbekistan (Cancelled)
(R15-R17) Pakistan v Jordan
(R16-R19) Hong Kong v India
(R11-R22) Iraq v Macao
(R14-R18) Saudi Arabia v Emirates
(R10-R23) Bahrain v Malaysia
(R9-R24) Kazakhstan v Maldives
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