Dubai, United Arab Emirates, September 30, 2013 – The last 16 teams have been confirmed for the 17th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championships after six matches of the preliminary round took place in Dubai on Monday.
The top two teams qualified from eight pools (A to H in order) are United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, Australia and Bahrain, China and Taipei, Japan and Sri Lanka, Korea and Iraq, Qatar and India, as well as Thailand and Lebanon. The teams will move forward to the playoff round with four teams in each of the four new pools (I to L) on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine the last eight teams.
Kazakhstan stun Kuwait 3-0
Despite meeting some troubles in the first set, Kazakhstan took a straight-set win 3-0 (25-23, 25-15, 25-17) over Kuwait, securing a berth in the last 16 as runner-up in pool C.
Although Kuwait’s Erdshtein Vitaliy was the best scorer for the match, with 14 points, it was not enough for Kuwait to win a set in the match.
Thailand beat Lebanon 3-1
The young Thai team registered an emphatic 3-1 win on Sunday with their effective spiking against Lebanon to top Pool H, which was left with only two sides instead of the standard three after Pakistan pulled out at the last minute at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
The buildup has been progressing well for Thailand, and was evident from the way they came fighting back after the initial hiccup in the floating and distribution work during the first set.
Confident Thailand coasted to a 3-1 victory (22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 30-28) in a match that remained close throughout the encounter.
The Lebanese have a strong block and some of the most powerful smashers on the continent. Strongly built giants Alain Saade and Caio Maluf impressed with their acute angle killers off the fast tempo buildup and traditional high float methods but during the crucial moments in the third and fourth sets, the duo were well monitored by the guards at the Thai wall.
Lebanon had two full time diggers for specific functions with starting libero Elie El Nar excelling but again only in patches.
Instead Thailand’s setter, Saranchit Charoensuk, always set the tempo of the game with subtle changes to the pace and lift of the variations for the attack to be carried out from both flanks.
The ‘Most Valuable Player’ award would have been justified if it had been given to Kitsada Somkana and to a smaller extent Kissada Nilsawai, who spiked in tandem whenever coach Monchai Supajirakul double rotated them continuously to confuse the otherwise dependable Lebanese blockades upfront.
“First set, oh don’t talk about it - disaster. Our relays were too slow and Lebanon’s solid block just dismissed us. From the second and third sets with the help of a vastly improved pre-setting routine we were able to force our way back and luckily for us our attackers were able to find gaps during the tense moments like during the stretched fourth set,” said Monchai Supajirakul, coach of Thailand.
China down Chinese Taipei 3-0
The battle of attrition between the mainlanders and the islanders was closely fought as expected. In the first set, Chinese Taipei held strongly to see themselves perched at 19-17 after sustaining a fast tempo to counter the normally fast Chinese side.
The mainlanders fought back with two decisive blocks and a lucky line call to cross over with a 26-24 (1-0) score in their favour after fighting back with a double effort.
China finally showed why they are the undisputed spiking kings in this part of the world after Iran, when they took the set 3-0 (26-24, 25-19, 29-27) after moving easily past the Taipei men.
The best scorer of the match, Yuan Zhi (24 points) led China throughout the match while Huang Chien-Feng topped Chinese Taipei with 21 points.
Korea dominate Afghanistan 3-0
South Korea, another World Championship qualifier from the continent, had a great game and event plan in their stockpiles. In the concluding fixture on Monday night, they played easily with the same fast tempo style like the Japanese and the Chinese teams.
As expected, the match was one-sided play lasting only 69 minutes with the scoreline finally displaying 3-0 (25-13, 25-19, 25-14).
Jaeseong Oh, a regular on-court-six player who is even shorter than the libero at 5ft 8in (175cm), was frequently rotated for specific functions and on each visit he excelled with his digs (the main role of a libero), fast inter-changes at the net for near perfect settings and came out with unbelievable assists in the middle even when things went wrong with the pre-serve calculations.
“Yes. He is our all-rounder who does not have the height to smash, but is our utility man all the same. The main task for him is receiving and passing on first touch most of the time with no allowance for any kind of sloppy handling. It is a highly specialised function,” said South Korean coach, Kiwon Park. “This is just 50 percent of what would be the final World Championships side next year. Every tournament is planned long before to identify the exact requirements. We have a specific plan for this one, apart from eyeing the crown, of course.”
“I am so happy to see the total commitment of each and every player considering the hardships and difficulties they go through as part-timers. The standard achieved training indoors at a very poorly lit hall in the evenings and night for three months is incredible. The talent is definitely there. We were able to match the fast moving Koreans in short periods,” said Mario Stipkov, Afghanistan’s Croatian head coach.
Japan defeats Sri Lanka 3-0
Sri Lanka who surprised many with their opening straight-set win over Oman on Saturday fought hard again but their relief efforts of making a substantial show dwindled against the Japanese onslaughts before going down 3-0 (25-16, 25-23,25-14).
The extended second set was quite creditable for the emerging volleyball nation islanders against the Asian powerhouse Japan who for the first time in their history have not made it to the World Championship.
Both Shimizu Kunihiro and Fukuzawa Tatsuya scored 15 points from spiking while the latter scored another 3 from blocking, thus became the best scorer of the match.
Australia beat Myanmar 3-0
Confronting the stronger and more powerful Australians, who have also qualified to the World Championship, Myanmar showed no fear but played confidently. The highlight featured Myanmar’s 6 points in a row when falling 12-17 behind in the second set. Though they finally lost 0-3 (22-25, 23-25, 20-25 and did not make the last 16, they were still praised and welcomed by local Myanmar spectators.
Ranking third in the pool, Myanmar, together with Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, will play the placement round on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to determine their final ranking from 17 to 21 positions.
Competition Schedule All UAE times (GMT + 4)
October 1st, 2013 (Tuesday)
At Hamdan Sports Complex:
10:00am – Bye v Afghanistan
12:00pm – Iran v Iraq
14:00pm – Korea v Kazakhstan
16:00pm – China v Sri Lanka
18:30pm – UAE v Lebanon
At Al Nasr Club:
10:00am – Myanmar v Bye
12:00pm – Thailand v Uzbekistan
14:00pm – Australia v India
16:00pm – Qatar v Bahrain
18:30pm – Japan v Chinese Taipei
October 2nd, 2013 (Wednesday)
At Hamdan Sports Complex:
10:00am – Saudi Arabia v Oman
12:00pm – Kazakhstan v Iraq
14:00pm – Iran v Korea
16:00pm – China v Japan
18:30pm – UAE v Thailand
At Al Nasr Club:
10:00am – Kuwait v Bye
12:00pm – Bahrain v India
14:00pm – Australia v Qatar
16:00pm – Uzbekistan v Lebanon
18: 30pm – Chinese Taipei v Sri Lanka
October 3rd, 2013 (Thursday)
Rest day & AVC General Assembly
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