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Iran, Kazakhstan win AVC Central Zonal tournament

Iran beat Kazakhstan in the finals to win the gold at the AVC Central Zonal tournament
 Negombo, Sri Lanka, January 22, 2012 – Iran claimed the men’s gold medal while Kazakhstan took the women’s prize at the Central Zonal tournament of the AVC Continental Beach Volleyball Cup on Sunday. The two teams qualified for the finals along with the men’s teams from Kazakhstan (silver medal) and Sri Lanka (bronze), and the women’s teams from Sri Lanka (silver) and India (bronze).

They will join qualifiers from the Eastern, Southeastern, Western and Oceania Zone tournaments with the eventual winners earning a berth to the London 2012 Olympic Games. The two runners-up move on to the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup.

The men’s teams from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam of the AVC South Eastern Zone; China, Japan and Hong Kong of the Eastern Zone; and Oman, Bahrain and Qatar of the AVC Western Zone have already qualified for the Asian finals. The qualified women’s teams include Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia of the South Eastern Zone, and China, Japan and Chinese Taipei of the Eastern Zone.

Iran 3, Kazakhstan 2
Kazakhstan’s top pair Alexey Sidorenko/Alexandr Dyachenko put on a classy performance to defeat Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi in straight sets (21-17, 21-15) in 34 minutes to tie the overall scores after Alexey Kuleshov/ Dmitriy Yakovlev lost the opening match 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) to Iran’s top duo of Parviz Farrokhi/ Agh Mohammad Salagh. Iran moved into the lead again when their top pair edged Alexey Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko 2-1 (25-23, 21-23, 18-16) in a 74-minute match. However, Alexey Kuleshov/ Dmitriy Yakovlev weren’t discouraged by their teammates’ loss and pulled off an unexpectedly easy win over Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi (21-14, 21-14) in the fourth match, sending the fate of the clash to a “golden set.” Parviz Farrokhi/Agh Mohammad Salagh eventually prevailed, beating Alexey Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko 15-10 in the decider. 

Sri Lanka 4, India 0
Sri Lanka delighted their home fans with an easy victory over India. Sri Lanka pair Pubudu Ekanayake/ Sampath Peiris started the day well with a straight-sets (21-12, 21-8) victory over rivals S.Balaganesh/ G. Prabhakaran. The first victory paved the way for three more 2-0 wins for the hosts. 

Kazakhstan 3, Sri Lanka 1
Kazakhstan started strongly with the experienced Irina Tsimbalova/ Tatyana Mashkova showing no mercy to Sri Lankans S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini, winning 2-0 (21-9, 21-14) before Bakhtygul Samalikova/ Lyubov Bogatu beat Sri Lanka’s No. 1 pair T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana 22-20, 21-19. After dropping the first two matches, the young and inexperienced host team fought back bravely. T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana fought for three sets to beat I. Tsimbalova/ T. Mashkova 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 19-17). But in the fourth match, Kazakhstan dug in for the win. Encouraged by the excellent performance of their teammates, B. Samalikova/ L. Bogatu withstood plenty of pressure and wrapped up the crucial victory over S. Gunasinghe/G.H. Nirosha Lakmini 2-1 (21-11, 21-23, 15-12) to clinch the gold medal.

India 3, Maldives 1
India’s top duo Rajasekar Ragana/ C.K.Jeeshma were the heroines in securing their country’s victory over Maldives as they beat Azza/ Sama 21-11, 21-12 and then followed up with another straight-sets win over Agila Hamid/Fathimath Zeenia 21-11, 21-14, helping India to rally. India’s second pair V. Pavithra/ Prakasan Premavathi, who lost their first match, survived a challenge from Azza/ Sama to win 2-0 (21-11, 21-19) and complete the match.

Men’s results
India  0,  Sri Lanka  4
S.Balaganesh / G. Prabhakaran vs. Pubudu Ekanayake/ Sampath Peiris 0-2 (12-21, 8-21)
R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar vs. Mahesh Perera/ Wasantha Rathnapala 0-2 (9-21, 14-21)
S.Balaganesh / G. Prabhakaran vs. Mahesh Perera/ Wasantha Rathnapala 0-2 (13-21, 13-21)
R. Madhusudhanan/ C.Rajkumar vs. Pubudu Ekanayake/ Sampath Peiris 0-2 (9-21, 18-21)

Iran  3, Kazakhstan  2
Parviz. Farrokhi/ A. Mohammad Salagh vs. Alexey Kuleshov/ Dmitriy Yakovlev 2-0 (21-18 21-16)
Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi vs.Alexey Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko 0-2 (13-21, 15-21)
P. Farrokhi/ A. Mohammad Salagh vs.A. Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko 2-1 (25-23, 21-23, 18-16)
Saber Hoshmand/ Rouhoallah Salehi vs. Alexey Kuleshov/ Dmitriy Yakovlev 0-2 (14-21, 14-21)
Parviz. Farrokhi/ Agh Mohammad Salagh vs. Alexey Sidorenko/ Alexandr Dyachenko 15-10

Women’s results
Maldives  1,  India  3
Agila Hamid/ Fathimath Zeenia vs. V. Pavithra/ Prakasan Premavathi 2-1 (21-18, 8-21, 15-13)
Azza/Sama  vs.Rajasekar Ragana/ C.K.Jeeshma 0-2 (11-21, 12-21)
Agila Hamid/ Fathimath Zeenia vs. Rajasekar Ragana/C.K.Jeeshma  0-2 (11-21, 14-21)
Azza/Sama vs.V. Pavithra/Prakasan .Premavathi  0-2 (11-21, 19-21)

Sri Lanka  1,  Kazakhstan  3
T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana vs. Bakhtygul Samalikova/ Lyubov Bogatu 0-2 (20-22, 19-21)
S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini vs. Irina Tsimbalova/ Tatyana Mashkova 0-2 (9-21, 14-21)
T. Gunasinghe/ Geethika Gunawardana vs. I. Tsimbalova/ T. Mashkova 2-1 (10-21, 21-16, 19-17)
S. Gunasinghe/ G.H. Nirosha Lakmini vs. B. Samalikova/ L. Bogatu 1-2 (11-21, 23-21, 12-15)

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