Iran has pulled off a stunning straight-sets victory over China to take gold at the 17th Asian U20 Men’s Volleyball Championships in Bahrain. A match billed as a clash of the Asian junior titans became a volleyball clinic, with Iran strolling to its fifth Asian U20 title, all achieved in the past nine championships.
With the exception of the first five points of the match, which China won, Iran was in total control. The seeds were sown in the sixth point of the opening set, when Rahman Taghizadeh rose to block a Runtao Xia spike. That block not only stopped the Chinese momentum, it also signaled a change in direction for his teammates. […]
Zhejia Zhang, the Chinese blocking machine later named the tournament’s best middle blocker, managed just one for the night. Runtao Xia, later to be named best outside spiker, was restricted to just seven points.
Iran played almost all its pool matches with just ten players, after visa problems left two of its players cooling their heels in Tehran. […]
“They worked very hard for this, working, working, working, step-by-step. Today the players showed they were one team and they were the best in the competition.”
It was a powerful display by Iran, and guarantees Asia will be well served at next year’s U23 World Championships in Mexico. “In 2007 I was with the Iran youth team when we won the gold medal, and I hope next year we can repeat history and win another gold medal,” coach Farhad said.
Final result: Iran vs. China 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-19)
Final standings – TOP 5
Best setter: Yu Yaochen (China)
Best outside spiker: Valaei Akbar (Iran)
Best outside spiker: Xia Runtao (China)
Best middle blocker: Alla Verdian Sahand (Iran)
Best middle blocker: Zhang Zhejia (China)
Best libero: Lee Sanguk (Korea)
Best opposite spiker: Mohamed Anan (Bahrain)
Most valuable player: Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad (Iran)