2017 Asian Men’s Senior Championships
Japan began its quest to defend its 2015 Asian Men’s title on Monday. Fifteen other teams will look to knock off the Japanese side, which earned a spot in the 2018 Men’s World Championship by winning Pool B at the Asian qualifier earlier this year.
Japan swept Sri Lanka despite resting their best players, Takashi Dekita and Yuki Ishikawa, in the match.
“I have one thing to say….good to win,” Japanese coach Yuchi Nakagaichi said. “We next play Vietnam and I think we have nothing to worry. We just play the match and do our best. This is the same Japanese team which won the AVC Qualifier in Australia, but only half of the team players competed with the team which captured the Asian title in Iran two years ago.”
Iran, which won the Asian championships in 2011 and 2013 and was runner-up in 2015, also started the 2017 edition with a win, sweeping Iraq. The Iranian team, which is ranked seventh in the world, is fresh off an appearance in Group 1 of the FIV World League Championships.
Australia, which qualified for the 2018 World Championships alongside Japan at the Asian qualifiers, kicked off its tournament with a sweep of Hong Kong.
“It’s a little bit difficult for us to find our normal rhythm,” Australian coach Mark Lebedew said. “This is a new tournament with new teams we have never played before. I’m happy that we won as the match went on and we hope to get better and better. Against Thailand on our next match, I think it’s very important and we expect a good match for the fans. Most of our team players are from the World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool B. We changed only one libero and one receiver.”T
The most exciting match of the day came as Kazakhstan rallied from down 2-0 to top Qatar 18-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-10.
Pool A is made up of Indonesia, Qatar, Kazakhstan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Pool B consists of Iran, Chinese Taipei, Pakistan and Iraq. Japan headlines Pool C, which also includes Korea, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Pool D features Australia, China, Thailand and Hong Kong.
The top two teams in each pool will move on to the event quarterfinals.
Indonesia def. Saudi Arabia 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 26-24)
Kazakhstan def. Qatar 3-2 (18-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19, 15-10)
Chinese Taipei def. Pakistan 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-13)
Iran def. Iraq 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-21)
Korea def. Vietnam 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-17)
Japan def. Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-17)
China def. Thailand 3-0 (25-19, 29-27, 25-13)
Australia def. Hong Kong 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-16)