Press release

Paykan clinch club world champs berth

It is Paykan's seventh title in total

Palembang, Indonesia, July 30, 2011 – Title-holders Paykan from Iran stretched their invincible aura in the Asian Men’s Volleyball Club Championship as they clinched their seven title, and sixth in a row, after methodically crushing an off-form Almaty of Kazakhstan in a one-sided final on Saturday.

The scintillating 25-16, 25-15, 25-19 victory handed the Tehran-based side Asia’s lone ticket to the 2011 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship in Doha, Qatar from October 8 to 14. The side finished third at the same tournament last year.

The newly-crowned 2011 Asian winners Paykan, who finished third place at last year’s world meet, now join Poland’s Jastrzebski, Canada’s Spartans Vancouver and Russia’s Zenit Kazan in Pool A, with Italy’s Trentino, Qatar’s Al-Arabi, Al-Ahly from Egypt and the remaining berth for yet-to-be-decided South American winners in Pool B for the Doha-hosted world meet.
More than 3,700 Indonesian fans packed into the Palembang Sport and Convention Center Gymnasium on Saturday to watch the climax of the top-notch tournament, the award presentation and the colourful closing ceremony.

Before the start of the final clash, everyone expected an absorbing hard-fought but the performance never materialised. The tall and towering Almaty turned underdogs and the whole match became a one-sided affair.

The indomitable Paykan taught Almaty a lesson, overwhelming the lower-ranked team they had beaten in the Pool B round-robin preliminaries with exceptional tactics and technique which completely baffled their opponents.

In what was a repeat of the 2008 final, the fired-up Paykan took the splendid offensive combination from devastating cross-court spikes from the deadly southpaw Seyed Mehdi Bazargarde and Arash Sadeghiyany and solid blocking by Hesam Bakhsheshi and Alireza Nadi as the side took the first two sets.

In the more thrilling third set, Almaty fielded the 210cm Anton Yudin, the tournament’s tallest player, with the aim of improving their blocking ability. The Kazakhs’ determination came to fruition as they initially led 8-4 before their formidable rivals clawed their way back to catch them at 14-14. The strongly-built, muscular Paykan powered on to capture the set 25-19, the championship match and the only ticket to the World Championships.

It’s the third time that the Iranian powerhouses beat Kazakhstan in the final clash of the Asian Club meet. In 2006, they stunned Rahat CSKA and beat Almaty twice in 2008 and 2011.

Furthermore, it’s also the Paykan’s seventh title in the Asian Men’s Club Championship. Since the tournament’s inception in Hefei, China in 1999, Paykan have already captured six crowns. Aside from winning their debut crown in 2002, Paykan have turned the unbeatable giants in the annual top-notch competition by winning the Asian titles from 2006 -2011.

In the third-place play-off earlier, China’s Tang Dynasty pounded Japan’s Sakai Blazers with strength and incredible prowess, overcoming the smaller-built rivals in straight sets 25-16, 25-20, 25-17.

Meanwhile, the all-Aseans battle between Thailand’s Chang and Bank Sumsel Babel from Indonesia saw both teams field all national players who are preparing for the 26th South East Asian (SEA) Games to be held in Indonesia from November 11 to 22.

In front of the cheering Indonesian fans, the former turned the tables on the latter, who took the home-crowd advantage. The Thais silenced the noisy crowds by stunning the host team in dramatic four sets 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17. For the Thais, it was a sweet revenge as they were beaten by the same rivals in the 2009 South East Asian (SEA) Games final in Vientiane, Laos. Chang clinched the fifth place, with the Indonesians in sixth position.

In the 7th-8th place play-off, Qatar’s Al Rayyan survived a determined challenge from PTSC to brush off the Vietnamese side in a close battle 25-22, 26-24, 25-22.

In the play-offs on the previous day, Myanmar’s Asia World Club finished ninth place following a 3-2 win over Turkmenistan’s Talyp Sport, while Uzbektelecom from Uzbekistan edged Afghanistan’s Etisalat 3-2 to claim 11th place.

In the award presentation, Paykan, Almaty and Tang Dynasty stepped on the respective first-second-third podiums. Each player received flower bouquet and medals according to their team’s ranking. Individual awards were also given away which saw Sakai Blazers snatch three and Paykan take four including the Most Valuable Player awards.

Saturday’s finals
7th-8th place play-off: Al Rayyan (Qatar) b PTSC (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-22 26-24 25-22)
5th-6th place play-off: Chang (Thailand) b Bank Sumsel Babel (Indonesia) 3-1 (25-23 20-25 25-21 25-17)
Bronze match: Tang Dynasty (China) b Sakai Blazers (Japan) 3-0 (25-16 25-20 25-17)
Championship match: Paykan (Iran) b Almaty (Kazakhstan) 3-0 (25-16 25-15 25-19

Final Standings
1.    Paykan (Iran)
2.    Almaty (Kazakhstan)
3.    Tang Dynasty (China)
4.    Sakai Blazers (Japan)
5.    Chang (Thailand)
6.    Bank Sumsel Babel (Indonesia)
7.    Al Rayyan (Qatar)
8.    PTSC (Vietnam)
9.    Asian World Club (Myanmar)
10. Talyp Sport (Turkmenistan)
11.  Uzbektelecom (Uzbekistan)
12.  Etisalat (Afghanistan)

Team qualified for the 2011 FIVB World Men’s Club Championship in Doha, Qatar: Paykan (Iran)

Individual Awards
Best Spiker: Seyed Mehdi Bazargarde (Paykan, Iran)
Best Server: Hamzeh Zarni (Paykan, Iran)
Best Scorer: Daisaku Nishio (Sakai Blazers, Japan)
Best Setter: Shun Imamura (Sakai Blazers, Japan)
Best Blocker: Hesam Bakhsheshi (Paykan, Iran)
Best Libero: Yusuke Inoue (Sakai Blazers, Japan)
MVP:  Hamzeh Zarini (Paykan, Iran)

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