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Volleyball - 29. September 2008.

Japan, Chinese Taipei, China qualify for 2009 World Women’s Junior Championship

Japan Chinese Taipei China qualify for 2009 World Womens Junior Championship
Japan Minemura Saki serves in the final match against Chinese Taipei

Taipei, Chinese Taipei, September 28, 2008 - Japan put up a classy performance to completely demolish host Chinese Taipei in straight sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-23) in the final of the 14th Asian Women’s Junior Volleyball Championship and clinched the title in the women’s junior division after 18 years. In the bronze-medal match, China defeated Korea 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-13). Japan, Chinese Taipei and China, as the top three finishers, booked their tickets to the 2009 World Women’s Junior Volleyball Championship.

This is the first Asian Women’s Junior Volleyball title clinched by Japan since 1990, when they won the gold medal at the fifth edition. Since then all the gold medals were taken by the Chinese women’s junior players from the sixth edition in 1992 to the 13 edition in 2006.

The final match of the 2008 Asian Women’s Junior Volleyball Championships was staged in a packed and frenzied arena in the T.U.C. Hall in Taipei, trying to boost the local girls to an incredible feat of beating Japan. Japan started off with real speed and the host girls were completely overpowered. With Minemura Saki’s spikes and non-penetrable blocking, aided by Nagaoka Miyu’s left-handed spikes and several self-produced errors from Chinese Taipei, Japan took the first set 25-18 and continued to lead in the second set. Yet, led by the experienced Head Coach Norimasa Sakakuchi, Chinese Taipei leveled the points 10-10 thanks to some damaging serves delivered by Chang Bo Yu. But Japan, fast at their feet, displayed wonderful defense skills and eventually obtained the second set 25-17. In the do-or-die third set, Chinese Taipei battled with Japan untill the last moment, but were still unable to turn the situation in their favour,  losing the set 23-25 and the match.

"My team had an un-erring game today," said Japan Head Coach Noboru Aihara after the victory, "but Chinese Taipei also did incredible work this time, especially for their win over China."

Sakakuchi commented on his team’s performance: "The players were too content with their triumph over China yesterday, and that’s why they lost today. Nevertheless, these players definitely have enough potential to create a new period in the history of Volleyball here."

Defending champion China and Korea both tried their best in order to enter the top three and claim a  ticket to the World Junior Women’s Championship. The shorter Korean girls had to use a combination of attacking strategies to cope with their taller rivals. In the first two sets, both teams fought hard against each other, and the scores were very close. Yet the taller Chinese had big edge over their opponents, and snatched the sets 25-23, 25-22. The third set became one-sided as China frequently fired powerful spikes against Korea and won the third and final set 25-13 with ease.

In playoff matches for the 5th to 8th places, Thailand beat Indonesia 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-17) for 5th place while Kazakhstan defeated New Zealand 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-17) for 7th.

Final rankings:

1. Japan
2. Chinese Taipei
3. China
4. Korea
5. Thailand
6. Indonesia
7. Kazakhstan
8. New Zealand
9. Australia
10. India
11. Sri Lanka

Individual Awards:
Best Spiker: Chen Shih Ting (Chinese Taipei)
Best Setter: Kawai Yuki (Japan)
Best Server: Joo Yea Na (Korea)
Best Scorer: Chen Wan Ting (Chinese Taipei)
Best Blocker: Yang Junjin (China)
Best Libero Player: Inoue Kotoe (Japan)
Most Valuable Player: Kawai Yuki (Japan)

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