Saturday September 30, 2023

Pakistan thrash Mongolia in Asiad volleyball

September 20, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday were off to an explosive start as they downed Mongolia in straight sets in their Group D opener of the men’s volleyball event of the 19th Asian Games at the Linping Sports Centre Gymnasium in Hangzhou.

Pakistan, who recently finished seventh in the Asian Championships in Iran, seemed to be an improved lot in a game which was mostly dominated by the Green-shirts.

After winning the first set 25-17, Pakistan kept their tight run and doubled their lead with a 25-19 victory in the second set. In the third set too the Green-shirts looked well, played with great discipline and won the set 25-20 to seal a deserving 3-0 win.

Pakistan’s Brazilian coach Issanaye Ramires Ferraz was happy with his charges’ fine start in the event. “Yes, I am happy with the team,” he told ‘The News’ from Hangzhou after Pakistan’s victory.

“They followed the tactical plan and we got good victory,” Issanaye was quick to add. “Mongolia is a good team and our unit deserves accolades for a win. It was team work and hopefully we will continue with the winning streak,” he said.

However, he said that the event’s schedule is very tough. “The tournament schedule is not easy. We now have to get some recovery as we will be facing Chinese Taipei after a few hours,” the coach said.

Pakistan will face Chinese Taipei on Wednesday (today) in their second show which will begin at 7:30am PST.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Volleyball Federation’s (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob was also happy with the way his team took a bright start in what could be a tough event. “I find it an improved side now despite Usman Faryad not playing his full game due to stomach problem,” Yaqoob told ‘The News’ from Hangzhou.

“Murad Junior played outstanding game,” Yaqoob was quick to add.

“I do expect Pakistan to do much better in the Asian Games. If Pakistan win tomorrow against Chinese Taipei and I hope they will, then Pakistan can be among the top six and InshaAllah can go to the semi-finals,” said Yaqoob, a former top police official. Pool A consists of hosts China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan while defending champions Iran have been clubbed in Pool B with Nepal and Bahrain. Korea, India and Cambodia form Pool C, Pool E comprises Qatar, Thailand and Hong Kong while Japan, together with Indonesia, Philippines and Afghanistan form Pool F. The leading two sides from each pool will advance to the round of 12 with the qualified teams contesting cross matches (B1 v E2, A2 v F1, A1 v F2, B2 v E1, C1 v D2, C2 v D1). The six triumphant teams from here will fight for 1-6 rankings with the remaining six relegating to the 7-12 rankings.

Pakistan’s biggest achievement in the Asian Games volleyball history is their third-place finish in the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games. In the last Asian Games held in Indonesia in 2018 Pakistan volleyball team ended eighth.

Volleyball was introduced in the 1958 Asian Games and since then 16 times volleyball event was held in the quadrennial spectacle. Japan have won record eight golds, followed by South Korea and China with three each.