The Chinese women and Iranian men’s teams defended their respective titles at the ParaVolley Asia Oceania Sitting Volleyball Championships on 15 June in Bangkok, Thailand.
Both teams swept their opponents in three sets to claim victories at the Huamark Indoor Stadium, where Tokyo 2020 Paralympic implications were also at stake.
Women’s gold medal match
China took a 25-16, 25-4, 25-7 win against Japan. The Chinese team once again triumphed without dropping a set for the perfect win-record in the 2019 edition. As the highest ranked team at the Asia Oceania zonal championship, China secured their ticket to Tokyo 2020.
Japan were only able to hold the lead at the first technical timeout, as China found their rhythm and converted on their attack attempts to make a huge turnaround and win the opening set.
China started the second set differently and showed better focus on their serve to mount an 11-0 edge. Japan only managed to score a couple of points against the Chinese, who were aggressive on both offence and defence.
China then cruised to a 25-7 win as Japan had no answers for the tough pressure they applied in the third set. China drilled the defence of Japan to mount a huge advantage that guaranteed their title victory.
Men’s gold medal match
It was the opposite for the Chinese men’s team, as Iran retained their title with a 25-21, 25-7, 28-26 victory.
Iran swept all their matches without dropping a single set. However, with Iran already booking their spot to at Tokyo 2020 after winning the 2018 World Championships, the regional slot went to China.
The first set came down to the wire as the two sides traded strong spikes until they played all square at 19-all. Iran finally got a breather after they grabbed the two-point cushion, but China fought back and to bridge the gap. Iran blocked two spikes by China to put them at set point, then a powerful swing from the middle secured the set in their favour 25-21.
Iran got their bearings back in the second set and executed a sound game plan that facilitated a huge advantage.
In the third set, China recovered from the setback in the previous set and established a better performance to match the intensity of their rivals. At the tied score of 12-all, China worked their way to take control of the set entering the second technical timeout 16-14.
But a series of deadlocks and lead changes ensued until Iran’s solid block and an attack error sealed championship victory.