Thailand’s women’s team reigned supreme in front of their home fans at the AVC Continental Cup zonal beach volleyball tournament of Southeast Asia after beating Vietnam to finish first while Indonesia edged Malaysia to place third at Cha-am Beach on Thursday.
Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and hosts Thailand took part in the three-day event which kicked off at the beachfront Long Beach Cha-am Hotel on October 25. Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, the top three teams, now move on to the AVC Beach Volleyball Continental Cup finals next year.
The eventual winners from the Asian meet will be eligible for next year’s London Olympic Games, while teams finishing second and third places will join those second and third-placed finishers from the other four continents to test their mettle in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Only two teams in the mentioned tournament will book their tickets for London.
Ahead of their remaining two encounters on Thursday, the women’s showdown saw Thailand lead Vietnam by a 2-0 margin on Wednesday. Vietnam needed two straight wins on Thursday for a 2-2 draw with the host side in order to make amends in the golden set of 15 points to decide the eventual winners.
However, the host girls gave little chance to their rivals as Thailand 1’s Jarunee Sannok and Usa Tenpaksee, bronze medalists at last year’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, saw off Vietnam 1’s Phan Thi Cam Hong and Trong Thi Yen in the women’s event. The Thai duo made a great start to bag the comfortable first set 21-17. The host girls still lived up to the supporters’ expectation to dominate the game with fierce spikes and drop shots. Jarunee and Usa claimed the second set 21-18 and the match to help Thailand stretch the lead to 3-0, enough to win the title.
Thailand 2’s Kamoltip Kulna and Varapatsorn Radarong also gave the fans something to cheer about as they outclassed Vietnam 2’s Nguyen Thi Mai and Nguyen Thi Tiep in comfortable straight sets 21-8, 21-15. Thailand eventually beat Vietnam 4-0 to stamp their authority on the tournament.
In the third place playoff, Indonesia edged Malaysia after a golden set. On Wednesday, top Malaysian duo Ben Shun Thing and Luk Teck Hua downed Indonesia 2's Efa Sri Susilowati and Fitri Wijayanti 2-0 (21-14, 21-10) to bring the scores level after Indonesian top pair Ayu Cahyaning Siam and Dhita Juliana defeated Malaysia 2's Iswari Manokharan and Luk Teng Kee in straight sets 21-18, 21-12.
On Thursday, Malaysia jumped into a lead as Shun Thing and Teck Hua took one hour to rally from a set down to beat Ayu and Dhita 2-1(19-21, 21-19, 15-12) in a hard fought-battle. But Efa and Fitr also beat Iswari and Teng Kee 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 16-14) to draw the battle again.
The fate of this clash went to a golden set and it was Ayu and Dhita who eventually completed the match by beating Malaysia’s Shun Thing and Luk Teck Hua 15-11.
THA 4, VIE 0
Sannok/Tenpaksee (THA) vs. N. Mai/N. T.Tiep (VIE) 2-0 (21-11, 21-16)
Kulna/Radarong (THA) vs. Phan Thi Cam/T.Yen (VIE) 2-1 (21-18, 19-21, 16-14)
Sannok/Tenpaksee (THA) vs. Phan Thi Cam/T.Yen (VIE) 2-0 (21-17, 21-18)
Kulna/Radarong (THA) vs. N. Mai/N. T.Tiep (VIE) 2-0 (21-8, 21-15)
INA 3, MAS 2
Ayu/Dhita (INA) vs. Iswari/Teng Kee (MAS) 2-0 (21-18, 21-12)
Fitri-Efa (INA) vs. Shun Thing/Teck Hua ( MAS) 0-2 (14-21, 10-21)
Ayu/Dhita (INA) vs.Shun Thing/Teck Hua ( MAS) 1-2 (21-19, 19-21, 12-15)
Fitri/Efa (INA) vs. Iswari/Teng Kee (MAS) 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 16-14)
Ayu/Dhita (INA) vs. Shun Thing/Teck Hua (MAS) 1-0 (15-11)
1. Thailand; 2. Vietnam; 3. Indonesia; 4. Malaysia
Teams qualifying to the AVC Continental Cup Asian Zone
1. Thailand; 2. Vietnam; 3. Indonesia
photos Janos Schmidt