Four SEA teams battle for place in World Championship Qualification Asia
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, June 25, 2013 – Hosts Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar begin their 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship quest on Wednesday to vie for two final-round positions for Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asian Zonal Men’s Qualification Tournament will be held at Nakhon Pathom Sports Centre Gymnasium in Nakhon Pathom, with the four sides fighting it out in the single round-robin competition. Only the top two from this meet will make the cut for the continent’s 16-team final round in September.
Australia, Iran, China and Japan will jointly host the final round to form Pool A, B, C and D respectively, with three qualified teams joining each pool. Only the winners from each pool, totaling four from Asia, will be eligible for the next year’s 24-team FIVB World Championship in Poland.
So far, six teams have already qualified for the Asia’s final round. They comprise Australia, Iran, China, Japan, South Korea, all of them automatically qualified as the Asia’s top five in the FIVB world ranking. Also advancing to the final round are Kazakhstan and New Zealand.
The other teams in different zonal rounds are now in pursuit of the remaining nine slots for the final round. This includes the four participating teams in Nakhon Pathom to fight for the two tickets at stake for Southeast Asia.
On Wednesday, the host team takes on Vietnam in the curtain-raisers, followed by the clash between Indonesia and Myanmar. Among the four participating teams, Thailand proved the strongest rivals to topple.
Thailand is not the only team to pit their expertise in the FIVB World Championship for the first time in 1998, but also the current FIVB world ranked No.48 which finished fourth place, their best performance ever, in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and the gold medalists at the previous South East Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia in 2011.
Commenting on his team’s chances, Thailand’s national head coach Monchai Suphajirakul admitted that making the cut for the final round is a tough mission.
“All four teams competing in the tournament are very close,” Monchai said. “It’s rather difficult to predict which two teams from Southeast Asia will win tickets for the final round. It must be tough matches out there in the competition which will serves as our pre-SEA Games.”
“As the SEA Games are just six months away, every team is sending their well-established team with good players to test their preparation ahead of the Games,” he said. “I hope my team will achieve the feat we did before – beating every team to emerge as the champion despite the fact that two teams from the zone will advance to the Asia’s final round.”
Meanwhile, Thailand will also host the Central Zonal Women’s Qualification Tournament for the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship. India will battle it out against Uzbekistanon Wednesday to compete for the lone Central Asia ticket for the continent’s final round.
The General Technical Meeting took place on Tuesday at Whale Hotel in Nakhon Pathom, with team officials including head coaches from four men’s teams and two women’s sides joining. Shanrit Wongprasert, president of the AVC Sports Events, AVC Supervisor Mr Nai Chi Chang and Neutral Referee Mr Cedric Chung jointly presided over the meeting.
2pm: Uzbekistan vs. India (Central Zonal Women’s Qualification Tournament)
4pm: Opening ceremony
5pm: Thailand vs. Vietnam
7pm: Myanmar vs. Indonesia
3pm: Vietnam vs. Indonesia
5pm: Thailand v Myanmar
3pm: Myanmar vs. Vietnam
5pm: Thailand vs. Indonesia