Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament - News

Triumphant Iranian captain Seyed Mousavi (source: volleyball.ir)

Triumphant Iranian captain Seyed Mousavi (source: volleyball.ir)

Just a few days before the start of the men’s FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers, Iran topped the prestigious men’s volleyball podium at the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 for the third time in a row. Two teams hosting qualification pools from September 30 through October 8, China and Japan, completed the podium with silver and bronze, respectively.

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In Tuesday’s final in China, Iran produced a 3-1 (19-25, 25-14, 25-22, 26-24) victory over the home team to stay undefeated throughout the tournament and defend their previous two titles from 2014 and 2018. The Iranians also have three silvers and a bronze in their Asian Games showcase.

Outside hitter Shahrooz Homayonfarmanesh led the team with 17 points, including four aces. His cross-court teammate Amirhossein Esfandiar and opposite Saber Kazemi added 14 points apiece towards the final victory.

“The players worked hard towards this competition. Every tournament is important for us and thank god that we were able to finish this one with a gold medal,” said Esfandiar. “Now we can travel to Brazil for the Olympic qualifiers with a high spirit. Hopefully, we will get the job done and qualify for Paris 2024. We are going with all our strength and we are looking for the best result.”

Iran will fight for one of the two tickets to next year’s Games in qualification Pool C to be played in Rio de Janeiro. The Asian Games champions will be in round-robin competition with Brazil, Cuba, Czechia, Germany, Italy, Qatar and Ukraine.

Asian Games hosts China cruised to the gold medal match unbeaten, but eventually had to settle for silver, their fourth in the history of the competition within a total medal count of nine, including three titles and two bronze medals. Their outside Zhang Jingyin delivered a match-high 19 points in the final, including three blocks and two aces. Opposite Jiang Chuan added another 13 points.

China will host Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands and Poland in qualification Pool B to be played in Xi’an.

The men’s volleyball podium at Hangzhou 2022 (source: volleyball.ir)

The men’s volleyball podium at Hangzhou 2022 (source: volleyball.ir)

In the third-place match at Hangzhou 2022, Japan managed a 3-1 (37-35, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) victory over Qatar on a 22-point match high from Yudai Arai. Japan are the most decorated team in the history of the competition. They now have eight gold, two silver and three bronze medals in their collection.

Japan will play host to Pool B of the Road to Paris Qualifiers. They will be joined in Tokyo by the teams of Egypt, Finland, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Türkiye and United States.