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Japan, China and Chinese Taipei qualify for 2013 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship

In the showdown between China's Yuan Xinyue and Japan's Sarina Koga, it was Koga who came out ahead - she finished as the tournament's best scorer and MVP
Shuangliu, China, October 22, 2012 – Japan earned their fifth title at the 2012 Asian Youth Girls’ Championship with a rousing 3-1 (25-19, 26-24, 23-25, 25-18) victory against hosts China on Saturday at the Shuangliu Sports Centre. They qualified for the 2013 FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship, along with China and Chinese Taipei as the top three teams in Asia.

The Japanese side relied on their most formidable scoring weapon, Sarina Koga, to steer past the equally tenacious Chinese lineup. Koga played a consistent game, launching ferociously from her favourite spot at left wing, and soaring from the backline as well.

The Chinese squad relied on their strong front line to impose a tough challenge on Japan. Yuan Xinyue unleashed her unyielding attacks down the middle, and Wang Yunlu and Hu Mingyuan likewise provided offensive power at the wings.

But the Chinese blockers could not post an effective defence against the Koga scoring machine. Once the Japanese hitter took the first step, it was nearly impossible for defenders to catch up and attempt at decent deflection.

Japanese setter Airi Tahara orchestrated the Japanese offense very well, setting up Koga with clockwork precision. She also helped Shino Nakata and Misaki Shirai to operate effectively at the wings, steering Japan to their fifth title. Their first victory was in the tournament’s first edition in 1997, after which they triumphed in 2007, 2008, and 2010. This win puts them ahead of China, who have four titles.

In the bronze medal match, Chinese Taipei beat Korea 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-17). Tseng Wanling emerged as a force at the middle for the Chinese Taipei side, scoring a total of 18 points. Lee Yu likewise worked on a strong game from the wings, making a 13-point contribution. Korea tried to retaliate, with Lee Hanbi and Jimin Kyeong converting their attacks, but Chinese Taipei broke their opponents’ rhythm as Tseng, in particular, played a huge role upfront. The Korean hitters suffered from misfires and errors, and fell out of contention.

Chinese Taipei improved from their 5th place finish in 2010.

In the tournament’s classification matches, Thailand took fifth place with a 3-0 win (25-16, 25-17, 25-18) against India. Kazakhstan settled for seventh as they succeeded in their match against Hong Kong, winning 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18).

As the host country, Thailand will also join Japan, China and Chinese Taipei at the 2013
FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship.

Teams’ Final Ranking:
1.    Japan
2.    China
3.    Chinese Taipei
4.    Korea
5.    Thailand
6.    India
7.    Kazakhstan
8.    Hong Kong
9.    Vietnam
10.    Iran
11.    Australia
12.    Mongolia
13.    Sri Lanka

Individual Awards:

Best Scorer:     Sarina Koga (JPN)
Best Server:     Chen Tzuya (TPE)
Best Attacker:     Hu Mingyuan (CHN)
Best Blocker:     Yuan Xinyue (CHN)
Best Setter:     Airi Tahara (JPN)
Best Libero:     Lin Miaohua (TPE)
Most Valuable Player: Sarina Koga (JPN)


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