Tehran, Iran, (FIVB Press Release): Iran qualify picked up their first ever Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship in fitting form as they sealed a 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-16) victory over China in front of their home fans in Tehran to clinch a berth to the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup 2011 on Thursday.The newly crowned champions will now travel to Japan for the World Cup from November 20 to December 4 with the sole aim of finishing in the top three which would see them earn their place at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Iran’s victory in the 16th edition of the Asian Men’s Championship is their first gold medal ever – an improvement from their silver medal finish in 2009. Iran is the fifth nation to have won gold at the Asian Men’s Championship. China, added a sixth silver medal to their tally.
Meanwhile, Korea defeated Australia 3-1 (25-22, 16-25, 26-24, 25-20) to win the bronze medal. The side has won the most medals in the Asian Championship with four golds, three silvers and eight bronzes – the last four bronze medals have been won in the last four consecutive editions from 2005 to 2011.
Defending champions Japan finished in a disappointing fifth place, their worst result since 2005, following a thrilling 3-2 (23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 21-19) win over India.
Gold medal match
Iran v China
Ahead of the tournament, coach Julio Velasco said it would be a tough task to pick up the gold medal in front of a home crowd, but his players duly delivered as they saw off China in the finals to cap off a memorable tournament.
China did its best to overcome Iran’s power and managed to win in the first set. But Iran found another level and illustrated its intense drive to win in offense and defence.
Amir Ghafour came off the bench and played the game of his life as he brought two important championship points for Iran in the fourth set.
Bronze medal match
Korea v Australia
Korea took the bronze medal after defeating Australia in four sets. Jeon Kwang-In and Kim Yo-Han fuelled Korea’s offense through their excellent attack and service. They also showed superb digging from the Australian attack, making it difficult for their opponents to consistently score.
Australia severely suffered errors in attack throughout the match as they went down in heart-breaking fashion after showing much promise in the earlier rounds. Korea’s Jeon Kwang-In topped all scorers with 26 points while Australian captain Igor Yudin top scored for his team with 22.
Japan v India
Japan overcame India’s tough plays in a heart-stopping tie break set (23-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-22, 21-19) to take fifth place. India showed put on a valiant display to combat Japan’s quick offense and took the first two sets in the match. Japan looked disoriented in the second and their defence took a massive beating from the Indian attackers. Japan came back in the match as India’s defence weakened with fatigue. A different story emerged in the final set as both teams went head-on right until the end but Japan counted on their immense focus to finish ahead.
Pakistan v Sri Lanka
Pakistan placed seventh overall in the competition by trouncing Sri Lanka in straight sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-23). Sri Lanka’s attack in the first set was limited by Pakistan’s ruthless block. Although Sri Lanka managed to overcome this attacking dilemma, Pakistan knew how to find a way through the situation and prevailed over them consistently. Sri Lanka’s S.AJ. Surath topped all scorers with 19 points but it was Munir Khan’s 17 points that helped Pakistan with the win.
8. Sri Lanka
13. Chinese Taipei
Most Valuable Player: Arash Kamalvand (Iran)
Best Scorer: Jeon Kwang-In (Korea)
Best Server: Kim Yo-Han (Korea)
Best Spiker: Nathan Roberts (Australia)
Best Blocker: Liang Chunlong (China)
Best Setter: Amir Hosseini (Iran)
Best Libero: Farhad Zarif (Iran)