Taipei, Chinese Taipei, August 13, 2015 – Strong teams pulled off convincing victories over lower-ranked oppositions on the opening day of the Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship on Thursday, with Iran’s Paykan, loaded with star spikers including Mostafa Sharifat, thrashing inexperienced Kuwait’s Qadsia Sporting Club in comfortable straight sets.
The pool round-robin preliminaries of the annual continental competition simultaneously kicked off at the University of Taipei Hall and Taipei Gym on Thursday, with Pool A and Pool B encounters being held at the University of Taipei Hall and Pool C and Pool D matches taking place at Taipei Gym.
Contesting Pool B against Kuwait’s Qadsia Sporting Club, Paykan, which have handed powerhouses Iran seven titles in this level of competition, came up with their strong roster, eight of them national players who joined the second-placed Iran in the recent Asian Senior Men’s Championship on home soil.
Paykan fielded Sharifat Mostafa, Ali Hossein, Gholizad Mojtaba, Ghara Reza and Farhad Salafzoon and rested their best players including Zarini Hamzeh and Fayazi Damnabi Purya to send the Kuwaiti squad packing with a sensational 25-12 25-11 25-19 victory.
Sharifat Mostafa, who won the Best Middle Blocker award at the recent Asian meet, led Paykan with 12 points including 8 kills and 4 blocks, while Alhamadi Abdullah emerged as the top scorer for Qadsia Sporting Club with 7 points.
A daunting task awaits Paykan on Friday when they will go up against Korea Armed Forces, which also registered their first victory in the top-flight competition on Thursday after they powered past the Philippines’ Cignal in thrilling straight sets 26-24 25-18 25-21.
Japan’s Panasonic had a field day to clear their first hurdle with a one-sided 25-12 25-12 25-12 win over Afghanistan’s NDS in Pool A, while Chinese Taipei’s Taichung Bank Club, fielded the same squad which won the sixth place at the Asian meet in Iran.
With the likes of ace spikers Liu Hung-Min, his twin brother Liu Hong-Jie and Chen Chien-Chen, Taichung Bank Club overcame their poor start to win a hard-fought four-set 20-25 25-19 25-19 25-15 victory over Turkmenistan’s Migrasiya.
Liu Hung-Min totalled 18 points for Taichung Bank Club including 17 deadly attacks, while Chen Chien-Chen led the blocking and service skills with three and five points respectively. Nuryyev Dovletgeldi led Migrasiya with 12 points.
In Pool C, Al Arabi Sport Club, which handed Qatar the lone Asian Men’s Club title in 2012, struggled to beat Iraq’s South Gas Club in dramatic four sets 25-20 26-28 25-22 25-19.
Happiness showed on the faces of every team member of Al Arabi Sport Club right after the triumph. Al Arabi Sport Club’s head coach Lajnef Maaouia, who also felt a sense of relieve, said that the key point of their victory was because of passion.
“Winning the first match means a lot to us. It is so important to both the team and the players. After a lot of of discussion and realisation of some key points, the team overcame the obstacles and was brought to a different and higher level. Event though the skills and strategies are important, the faith and determination of winning are what truly matters.”
Thailand, which did not send any team to the previous edition in Pasay, the Philippines, were represented by Thailand League champions Nakhonratchasima.
Spearheaded by former Thailand’s national player Yuranan Boudang, Nakhonratchasima enjoyed an easy 25-18 25-23 25-21 win over Australia’s Victorian Volleyball Academy. Terrific Yuranan Boudang led the team in spiking, blocking and service skills with 14, 3 and 5 points respectively to emerge as the top scorer of Nakhonratchasima with 22 points. Jonathan Morley topscored with 7 points for Victorian Volleyball Academy.
In Pool D, Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar VC got off to an impressive start with comfortable 25-21 25-17 25-19 win over Vietnam’s Trang An Ninh Binh, while China’s BAIC Motor, which finished third at the previous episode in the Philippines last year, got the championship off to a convincing start with a comfortable 25-18 25-17 25-19 win over Oman’s Sohar.
UNIVERSITY OF TAIPEI HALL
Panasonic (Japan) b NDS (Afghanistan) 3-0 (25-12 25-12 25-12)
Chinese Taipei (Taichung Bank Club) b Migrasiya (Turkmenistan) 3-1 (20-25 25-19 25-19 25-15)
Paykan (Iran) b Qadsia Sporting Club (Kuwait) 3-0 (25-12 25-11 25-19)
Korea Armed Forces (Korea) b Cignal (Philippines) 3-0 (26-24 25-18 25-21)
Al Arabi (Qatar) b South Gas Club (Iraq) 3-1 (25-20 26-28 25-22 25-19)
Nakhonratchasima (Thailand) b Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia) 3-0 925-18 25-23 25-21)
Kazakhstan b Vietnam 3-0 (25-21 25-17 25-19)
China b Oman 3-0 (25-18 25-17 25-19)
MATCH SCHEDULE (All local times)
Friday, August 14, 2015
At UNIVERSITY OF TAIPEI HALL
1pm: Qadsia Sporting Club (Kuwait) v Cignal (the Philippines)
3pm: Korea Armed Forces (Korea) v Paykan (Iran)
5pm: NDS (Afghanistan) v Migrasiya (Turkmenistan)
7pm: Taichung Bank Club (Chinese Taipei) v Panasonic (Japan)
At TAIPEI GYM
1pm: Pavlodar VC (Kazakhstan) v Sohar (Oman)
3pm: BAIC Motor (China) v Trang An Ninh Binh (Vietnam(
5pm: Victorian Volleyball Academy (Australia) v Al Arabi Sport Club (Qatar)
7pm: South Gas Club (Iraq) v Nakhonratchasima (Thailand)