Japan storms to win first Asiad men's volleyball champion in 16 years
2010-November-27 Source: China View website
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Japan stormed into their first Asiad gold medal in 16 years after beating Iran 3-1 in Guangzhou on Friday at the 2010 Asian Games.

Also on Friday, defending champion South Korea outclassed Thailand 3-0 to finish third of the tournament and keep up their 44-year medal run.

It took Japan 74 minutes to finish the final with 25-19, 25-13, 23-25, 25-18.

Japan came into the game with high-flying spikes while Iran, who claimed the title of the 2010 Asian Championships, could not find their rhythm on court and lost the first two sets easily at 25-19, 25-13.

Shimizu Kunihiro collected 25 points from 21 spikes plus three aces for Japan to lead the game. Winger Fukuzawa Tatsuya added 20.

While it seemed Japan would have a lop-sided win, Iran hit back strongly in the third and made it 2-1 with a 25-23 win.

Seyed Mousavi led Iran with 11 points while Mohammadkazem M. contributed 10.

Japan looked more confident and put more pressure on their opponents, pulling the fourth set back with 25-18 and claim their first gold medal since 1994.

South Korea overcame Thailand 25-19, 25-17, 28-26 earlier on Friday to keep up their 44-year medal run.

South Korea entered the game with high-morale and led throughout the opening set, that they even forgot to regroup at the first technical time out. With Thailand's libero Piyarat Toontupthai misjudging two serves, South Korea took the opener 25-19.

Thailand's aggressive serves were rarely seen during the game. Trailing by six points after the second technical, they failed to trouble the South Koreans, who opened an eight-point lead in winning the set at 25-17.

South Korea was in trouble as Raksakaew Jirayu exploded in third set after Thailand led at 8-7. However, the South Koreans, who won gold at the previous two Asiads and have finished on the podium every time since 1966, didn't let the chance slip from their hands as they soon overturned the situation and rallied to the end as Moon Sung-Min spiked in the final points.

In another play-off on Friday, host China defeated India 25-18, 25-17, 25-28 to take the fifth place of the tournament, their worst result since 1974.

Editor: Olivia
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