Paralympic champions USA, Russia*, Italy, Brazil and Ukraine secured qualification for the quarter finals on day three (17 July) of competition at the 2018 Sitting Volleyball World Championships in the Netherlands.
Debutants Italy sealed arguably the most surprising victory in the tournament so far as they beat sixth seeds Iran 3-1 (28-26, 23-25, 25-15, 25-22) to finish second in Pool C. Defending champions China ended top of the standings following another 3-0 (25-6, 25-16, 25-22) victory over Slovenia.
Italian player Francesca Bosio said: “This team started in 2014 and we qualified for the European Championships for the first time and now the World Championships. I’m very happy with how we are playing.”
In Pool B, USA defeated Japan 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-12) for their third consecutive triumph, while Russia beat Hungary 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-8). Both victors advanced into the play-offs.
Rio 2016 bronze medallists Brazil claimed a 3-0 (25-7, 25-11, 25-17) win over Finland to finish unbeaten in Pool D ahead of Ukraine, who smashed Egypt 3-0 (25-14, 25-6, 25-13).
Netherlands defeated Canada 3-2 (24-26, 25-15, 13-25, 25-19, 15-8) to end top of Pool A ahead of their North American opponents. Rwanda beat Croatia 3-0 (25-9, 26-24, 25-14) to finish third.
The female teams will now travel from Arnhem to Rotterdam for the next round.
Competition continues on Wednesday (18 July) in Eindhoven with the final games of the men´s group stage.
More on the 2018 Sitting Volleyball World Championships can be found on World ParaVolley’s website.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.