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Defeat a timely reminder for Thai women

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Thailand’s women volleyball players have received notice of the daunting task ahead of them at next year’s world championships in Japan.

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They had already secured qualification heading into Sunday’s finale at a packed Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium when they faced their final Pool B game against South Korea. 
Like the hosts, South Korea had racked up nine points from three straight wins and in the clash of the top two, the visitors stunned Thailand in straight sets, 25-22 25-16 25-21, to reign after five days of intense competition before full houses.
North Korea, meanwhile, whose latest performance at the FIVB World Championship was back in 1986, where they finished a disappointing 14th place in the then-Czechoslovakia, had until this year been absent from the event. 
Their hopes of marking their return with a trip to the finals were dashed as lost in straight sets to the much stronger South Korea and Thailand sides.
 Vietnam and Iran also knew their chances of qualifying were over, heading into Sunday’s finale on the back of three straight defeats.
At least Vietnam could celebrate one lone success as they came from behind to beat Iran in four sets, 24-26 25-22 25-17 25-19, to end on a high.
 Japan 2018 will be Thailand’s fifth appearance in the world championships.
They made their debut at Japan 1998, where they finished 15th and four years later, they left Germany equally disappointed following a below-par 20th finish.
In 2010, again in Japan, Thailand returned with a best-ever 13th place finish and four years later, in Italy, a second-string Thai team finished 17th place.
More confident will be South Korea, who swept Pool B with 12 points from four straight wins.
The Nakhon Pathom tournament represented a successful comeback for them after they faioled to qualify for Italy 2014.
Twenty four teams will compete at next year’s world championships, which run from September 29 to October 20, including hosts Japan and 2014 world champions USA, who have been awarded automatic qualification. 
Four teams qualify from Asia – two each from Pool A qualifiers in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Pool B in Nakhon Pathom.
 

 

 

Published : September 25, 2017

By : Preechachan Wiriyanuparppong The Nation