July 12, 2003 - Defending five-time champions Brazil and Asian winners India set up a final showdown in the eighth World Boys' Under-19 Volleyball Championship on Saturday after brushing off their respective rivals Czech Republic and Iran in the semifinals to advance to Sunday's final.
"We made it in the Asian Championship and now we proved our talent," said Indian head coach G.E. Sridharan. "We suffered on receiving in the second set, but it did not pose any problem to my team. We came back fast to win the following two sets. We have to fight all-out again against Brazil. This is the crucial moment. We can't miss it. Our goal now is only the world title," he said.
India also beat Iran 3-1 in the final of the Asian Championship in Visakhapatnam, India, attacked from the first whistle and raced to a 20-11 lead, helped by Sanjay Kumar's devastating spikes and by Vikash Tomar in what turned out to be a one sided affair ending 25-15 for India.
The spirited Iranians regrouped to take a commanding 20-18 lead in the second set. Then Kumar scored two quick points to help Indians draw even then Iran upped their tempo to clinch the hard-fought second set 25-23.
India plugged away, accruing point after point and helped by some brilliant play by Kumar, took the took the crucial third set 25-17,
By then the Indians were fired-up and fighting and although Iran gave them a run for their money they closed out the set 25-20 and the match.
In the second semifinal reigning champs Brazil powered past Czech Republic in straight sets. Czech Republic started well with captain Michal Hrazdira still in "smashing" form after having registered 15 kills in the previous match. Still, they proved no match against the Brazilians and went down tamely 20-25 20-25 19-25. In the 5th- 8th classification round, Russia crushed Australia 3-0 (25-14 25-14 25-17), while hosts Thailand avenged Puerto Rico with a scintillating 3-1 (23-25 25-22 31-29 25-14) victory.
On Sunday, India and Brazil battle it out for the world crown, while Iran takes on Czech Republic in the third-place play-off. Thailand challenge Russia for the fifth position, with Australia playing Puerto Rico in the seventh-place play-off.
Story: Preechachan Wiriyanupappong AVC South East Asian Zonal Press Officer