News - M1WOQT16

Iran breeze through, as three winning sides endure tough encounters


Iran came out on top of the standings on Day 1 after their straight-set victory over Australia at the Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2016 – Iran’s straight-set win over Australia put them on top of the rankings; while France, Poland and Japan had to endure difficult challenges before they could come up with victories on Day 1 of the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.

Iran opened the tournament with a straight-set (25-19, 25-17, 25-18) win over their continental rivals Australia. Iran took advantage of the absence Australia’s Thomas Edgar’s in the first two sets. Mir Saeid Marouflakrani orchestrated brilliant plays for his hitters Amir Ghafour, Adel Gholami and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour to mount a comfortable lead in each set. Edgar saw action in the third set but his performance was not enough to upset the Iranian side. Ghafour’s 19-point performance from Marouf’s excellent sets produced a beautiful victory for Iran.

France dropped one set before they could complete the match against China 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21). The powerful hitters of France had an attack splurge in the first set, but China staged a comeback in the second set as they contained their rivals’ strong spikes. The third and fourth sets went France’s way as the European side utilised their attack strength to escape the tight contests. China deflected a total of 14 attacks of France but was not enough to match the latter’s intensity on the attack. Antonin Rouzier scored 22 points, including 20 kills, one block and an ace.

Poland went through a difficult match but still prevailed with a 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9) win over Canada. The Canadians gave a stunning performance as they controlled the world champions in the second and fourth sets, but John Gordon Perrin and Gavin Schmitt’s scoring efforts were no match against Bartosz Kurek and Mateusz Mika’s scoring outputs. Kurek and Mika produced 21 and 18 points, while Perrin and Schmitt finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Japan delighted their home fans with a 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19) win over Venezuela. Japan had a sluggish start but delivered a more consistent performance in the succeeding sets. Venezuela’s Kervin Martin Pinerua charted 17 points to lead Venezuela but Japan’s outstanding teamwork by Kunihiro Shimizu, Yuki Ishikawa, and Masahiro Yanagida reigned in the end. Shimizu tallied 21 points, followed by and Ishikawa and Yanagida, who scored 19 and 15 points, respectively.

The men’s Olympic qualifiers’ second day promises to have more thrilling encounters as favourites France and Poland will meet in the All-European derby, and Japan and China will play in the All-Asian clash on Sunday, May 29. Canada will try to redeem themselves but will face Day 1 winners Iran in the first match, followed by the match-up of Venezuela and Australia.

Top Scorer by Day
22 - Antonin Rouzier of France v China on May 28

Top Scoring Performances
22 - Antonin Rouzier of France v China on May 28
21 - Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Venezuela on May 28
21 - Bartosz Kurek of Poland v Canada on May 28
Top Individual Serving Performances
4 - Kunihiro Shimizu of Japan v Venezuela on May 28
Top Team Serving Performances
9 – Poland v Canada on May 28
Top Individual Blocking Performances
4 – Amir Ghafour of Iran v Australia on May 28
Top Team Blocking Performances
14 – China v France on May 28
Highest Scoring Sets
26-28 – Japan v Venezuela (1st set) on May 28
Highest Scoring Matches
198 – Poland v China 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9) on May 28


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