Chongqing, China, March 6, 2017 – Asian powerhouses Japan, China and Korea began the 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship in fine style with comfortable wins on the opening day of competition on Sunday.
All three won in straight sets. Japan over New Zealand, China against Iran and Korea versus Uzbekistan.
The 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship is taking place at the Chongqing No. 8 Secondary School Yubei Campus till March 13. The best four teams will qualify for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls U18 World Championship, which is due to take place in Argentina from August 18 to 27, 2017.
Five-time champions Japan opened the tournament and duly won 3-0 (25-7, 25-5, 25-9) against New Zealand in 49 minutes.
It was a very efficient performance from Japan, for whom captain Mayu Ishikawa led scoring with nine points. Phoenix Paniora led New Zealand’s scoring with three points.
“Although the girls are little bit nervous, it’s a very good start,” Japan coach Daichi Saegusa said.
China had to weather a series of early Iran attacks, but slowly began to use their home advantage and finished with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-6, 25-12) win that they sealed with a spike from Chen Boya. Xu Luyao lead scoring in the match with 15 points.
“I think the girls are a little bit nervous,” China coach Xu Jiande said. “Winning the championship is our ultimate goal. We don’t know the other teams well, but Japan are a strong team because they have consecutively won the championship for several years.”
Korea also made a slow start before they recovered and found their rhythm to beat Uzbekistan 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-7).
“Most of the players are playing in this Championship for the first time,” said Cho Wanki, head coach of Korea. “They were a little bit worried and nervous at the beginning.”