Indonesia 2018: Iran and China’s treble triumph

Defending champions retain sitting volleyball titles 11 Oct 2018
male sitting volleyball player Morteza Mehrzadselakjani blocks a ball over the net

Morteza Mehrzadselakjani (L) starred for Iran as they retained their Asian Para Games sitting volleyball title

By Will Davies | For the IPC and APC

Iran and China continued their dominance of men’s and women’s sitting volleyball, winning the Asian Para Games title for the third consecutive time at Indonesia 2018.

Both finals on Thursday (11 October) ended in a 3-0 victory; Iran beat China in the men’s event while China defeated Iran in the women’s final.

Men’s final

Bidgeli Sadegh was on form early for Iran in the men’s final and star player Morteza Mehrzadselakjani was causing China a few headaches.

Mehrzadselakjani, who when standing is 2.46m tall, is the tallest man to compete at a Paralympic Games, and China got a glimpse of his prowess at the net on the second point of the match when they served straight in his direction.

The point was over almost as soon as it left China’s end of the court at the Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Indoor Stadium in Jakarta, and attempts to further nullify or avoid Mehrzadselakjani opened up Iran’s other attacking weapons.

Iran’s block was also incredibly strong and they wrapped up the match 25-16, 25-14, 25-15.

After completing the win, Iran’s players and coaches went straight to celebrate with a group of local fans. Their coach Moameri Alireza said it is something his players feel privileged to be able to do.

“They do the same [in] Iran, when the spectator is coming, especially disabled spectators come to the court to come and see the match, they go and they give them confidence, self-confidence,” Alireza said.

“They talk to them, they take a picture with them. I think it helps other disabled people to [sometimes] need [other] disabled [people] to come to see them and offer motivation to continue one of their sports.”

Alireza added that Indonesia 2018 was an important part of the Paralympic champions’ current cycle leading into the Tokyo 2020 Games.

“We are in the middle of a long-term programme, because three years ago we started for the Netherlands world championships, for here and finally, 2020. So everything is on track,” he said.

“We have a special programme for each team and you would have seen that we did well on that (today).”

Women’s final

Tang Xuemei was quick to find her range in attack for China against Iran and was complemented by consistent and clever setting from from Gong Bin and some nice play from Zhang Xufei.

After conceding the first set 25-13, Iran were right in the second set early but China pushed again and captain Wang Yanan closed it out from the service line for a 25-17 set win and 2-0 lead for China

Iran’s captain Zarei Barouti Masoumeh was doing what she could and again impressed in the third but China were too good and won the set 25-16 and the match 3-0.

Wang Yunan was thrilled with her team’s success.

“We performed today beyond our expectations. We were very, very strong,” she said.

“Because this the third time in a row that we’ve won, our hard work has proved that we have been working so hard, not just for winning the big tournaments, but for every match including today.”

Japan won the women’s bronze medal with a 3-1 win over Indonesia and Kazakhstan won the men’s bronze medal with a 3-0 win over Iraq.