Rio 2016: Iran men’s volleyball team realise Olympic dream after 52 years of waiting (Photos)

Iran achieved a historic feat as they earned their first-ever Olympic Games qualification, after they handed world champion Poland their first defeat in the tournament 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 34-32) at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Hosts Japan were joined by the three best ranked Asian teams (Iran, Australia and China), the second and third teams from the European Olympic Qualification Tournament (France and Poland), as well as the second placed teams from the South American and NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournaments (Venezuela and Canada).

Mohammad Mousavi was the tournament’s best blocker, Saeid Marouf was best setter and Milad Ebadipour was best receiver.

The foundation of the current Iranian team was created nearly 10 years ago. At that time, Iran was 26th in the FIVB Rankings, behind other Asian teams. Today, Iran is ranked 8th in the world  and, as the strongest Asian team, they have won the 2011 and 2013 Asian Volleyball Championships and the 2014 Asian Games.

Sources: FIVB, FIVB Men World Olympic Qualification Tournament (WOQT) Japan 2016, WOQT Japan 2016, The Japan Times, Wikipedia | Iran men’s national volleybal team, FIVB World Rankings (2015.10), WOQT Japan 2016 (Iran-Venezuela), WOQT Japan 2016 (Iran-Poland), Tasnim News Agency (Iran-Poland), Tasnim News Agency (Iran-Japan), WOQT Japan 2016 (Iran-France)

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