ASIAN GAMES VOLLEYBALL COMPETITION TO KICK OFF SUNDAY
Jakarta, Indonesia, August 18, 2018 – With star spikers back to join their teams, the 18th Asian Games volleyball competition turns out to be an action-packed sporting event which promises thrills and spills.
The Games volleyball event is due to be held at the 3,000-seater GBK Tennis Indoor Stadium and the GOR Bulungan Gymnasium between August 19 and September 1, 2018. A total of 31 teams including 20 men’s sides will battle it out to vie for the top honour in both men’s and women’s events.
In the women’s team, Korea are back to defend their crown achieved in front of home fans at the previous edition in Incheon four years ago. Six players who joined the Asiad gold-winning Korean team in Incheon spearheaded by powerful hitter Kim Yeon-Koung returned to strengthen their side and brighten up their hopes of title defence.
World No.1 and Rio Olympic Games gold winners China, which picked up silver medal in Incheon, came with one of their strongest teams ever with an aim of regaining the pride lost to Korea in the final showdown at the previous episode. This time, seven players who joined the Olympics gold-winning Chinese team became major forces to be reckoned with in the Jakarta Asian Games. Among them was the scoring machine Zhu Ting, who landed the Best Outside Spiker and MVP Awards at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Japan also came much stronger this time as nine players including devastating left-hander Miyu Nagaoka, Yurie Nabeya and Risa Shinnabe who joined the Asian Championship gold-winning side had been called up to join the Japanese team.
Thailand, which sent a strong roster which had won two Asian Championship titles, remain formidable with the likes of Wilavan Apinyapong, Onuma Sittirak and Pleumjit Thinkaow. After claiming the maiden bronze at the previous Asian Games in Incheon, Thailand have set their sights on making a top-four finish in Jakarta.
The 18th Asian Games in Jakarta also serves as a warm-up tournament for China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea and Thailand in preparation for their tougher tasks at the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan.
Eleven nations took part in the women’s team event. They are Hong Kong China, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand in Pool A, with Korea, China, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and India in Pool B.
China and Vietnam set up the curtain-raisers on Sunday at 10am, with Thailand taking on the Philippines, Chinese Taipei facing Kazakhstan, Japan playing Indonesia and India challenging Korea on the first day of the Games volleyball competition.
After the pool round-robin preliminaries, only top four teams from each pool advance to the last eight teams, with Pool A winners next taking on Pool B fourth place, Pool B second position playing Pool A third place and so on. The final round will be held on September 1.
Meanwhile, in the men’s competition, Iran, which captured their historic Asian Games title in Incheon four years ago, remain the pre-race favourites in Jakarta. With four key players including Milad Ebadipour, Mohammad Mousavi and Amiri Ghafour back to join the team, Iran still prove to be an indomitable giant to topple in the 18th Asian Games with the likes of Amir Hossein Toukhteh, Morteza Sharifi and Mohammedreza Hazradpour, three of whom joined in the U19 Worlds gold-winning team last year.
However, strong challenges can be expected from Qatar, fresh from winning the AVC Cup in Taipei, and Korea, bronze medallists at the previous edition. Nine players who competed in Incheon including Seo Jae-duck and Choi Min-ho made a comeback effort to enhance the Korea’s chances in Jakarta. Japan were also strong with Hideomi Fukatsu, Takashi Dekita and Takeshi Nagano emerging as the stars of the team as they were instrumental in helping the Japanese lift the Asian Championship title two times in succession last year, while Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan are ready to issue strong threats against those powerhouses.
In terms of the drawing of lots, all 20 participating teams have been divided into six pools for the round-robin preliminaries. Hosts Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan are in Pool A. Pool B comprises Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia, while Pool C consists of Japan, Kazakhstan and Myanmar. Nepal, Chinese Taipei and Korea are in Pool D, with China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam in Pool E. Pool F comprises India, Qatar, Maldives and Hong Kong China.
Saudi Arabia will take on Kyrgyzstan in the first encounter on Monday at 10pm, followed by the match between Pakistan and Mongolia, Kazakhstan against Myanmar and Chinese Taipei against Korea at the main competition hall at GBK Tennis Indoor Stadium.
On the same day at the second hall at Pertamina Simprug Stadium, China play Vietnam, Thailand challenge Sri Lanka, India play Hong Kong China and Qatar meet Maldives.
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