July 9, 2003 – Egypt, Italy, China and the Netherlands
were all ousted from the 2003 Boys’ Under-19 World Championship after
losing their elimination play-off matches on Wednesday, with
China losing to hosts Thailand in a heart-pounding four-set thriller.
China started with an attack right from the opening
whistle, with powerful Yu Dawei, who stands 200cm tall, smashing fast spikes
to help the visitors lead 10-7. Inspired by the drum-beating from the screaming home
crowd, the Thai boys hit back bravely with a fierce attack of their own. However, they
still suffered on receiving and let the Chinese lead them all the way.
Holding a 21-20 advantage, China kept up the pressure and continued their
superb form, allowing the Thais only one more point from a thundering spike
from talented Wanchai Tabwises before wrapping up the closely-contested
opening set 25-21.
Thailand regained their composure in the second set, with Wanchai shining through his exceptional talent to spike
devastatingly and put the team in front 23-12. As China became more prone
with spiking errors, Thailand never looked back from then onwards to win the
one-sided set 25-14.
Their confidence sky-high after one set win, Thailand stormed on their mighty attack in the third set which they won 25-21.
In the fourth set, Wanchai proved that he is the Thailand’s mainstay as he
scored the team’ first six points through his devastating spikes and
terrific jump serves to help the team take a commanding 8-2 lead. Cheered
on lustily by flag-waving and dancing home fans, the Thai boys marched on in superb form. After leading 18-9, Thailand stretched their hands and
smashed their ways to capture the set 25-20 and a berth in the
“Before taking on China, I told my boys to refrain from making unforced
mistakes and they followed my advice," Thai head coach Apichart Kongsawat said. "Everything went as planned. However, as far as I’m concerned, the Chinese serves were not at their best, while my
boys are at their peak physically and mentally. I think we maintained our
“Theeradech Sukthavorn, Kittikun Sriutthawong and Wanchai Tabwises were
dominant forces in our team’s victory. In the first set, they started
nervously and played erratically. That cost them dearly when they lost the
set. I don’t want to say that China are off-form. It was just because we
came out with an on form and luck was also with us. We set the target
of making it to the quarter-finals and we have already fulfilled our
Meanwhile, Chinese coach Xin Chunsheng had no excuses. “My boys did not play well today. There was a lot of pressure taking on the host team, especially with the home fans cheering on loudly all the way. My boys then
could not maintain their form. The hosts played well, but the referee
also helped them with biased decisions. I’m not happy with the way the
referee did his job,” he said.
The other elimination play-offs saw North American champs Puerto Rico show
no mercy to Egypt, beating the African champions in straight sets 25-21
25-16 25-23, while defending five-time champions Brazil downed Italy 3-0
(25-23 25-20 25-18) and the Czech Republic pulled off a 3-1 (25-23 23-25 25-20
25-14) victory over The Netherlands.
In the seeding play-offs, Russia outclassed Iran 3-0 (25-23 25-23 25-16),
while Asian champions India overpowered Australia in straight sets (25-17
25-17 25-14). The draw for the quarter-finals would be held late Wednesday
night at Khum Suphan Hotel.