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S. Korea defeats India for 1st win at Olympic men's volleyball qualifying tournament

All News 16:29 January 08, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea beat India in straight sets for its first victory at the Asian Olympic men's volleyball qualifying tournament on Wednesday in China.

Jung Ji-seok led the way with 12 points, as the 24th-ranked South Korea got past the 131st-ranked India 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-23) in Pool B action at Jiangmen Sports Center Gymnasium in Jiangmen, China.

In this photo provided by FIVB on Jan. 8, 2020, South Korean players celebrate a point against India in their Pool B match of the Asian Olympic men's volleyball qualification tournament at Jiangmen Sports Center Gymnasium in Jiangmen, China. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

South Korea bounced back after dropping a five-set thriller against the 15th-ranked Australia on Tuesday. Coached by Im Do-hun, South Korea will close out the preliminary round in a must-win match against Qatar, world No. 33, on Thursday.

The top two teams from the group will move on to Saturday's semifinals, to be joined by the best two teams from Pool A. Only the winner of this qualifying tournament will play at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.

South Korea last played in the Olympic men's volleyball tournament in 2000.

Qatar have jumped to first place in Pool B after stunning Australia 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-23) earlier Wednesday. If South Korea beats Qatar on Thursday, it will move on to the semifinals. But the combination of a South Korea loss and an Australian win over India will eliminate South Korea.

South Korea looked a bit shaky in the first set. With an 18-16 lead, Souuth Korea pulled ahead with Hwang Taek-eui's ace and Jeon Kwang-in's block. Then at 22-19, South Korea got three straight points to close out the first set.

South Korea had an easier time in the second set, though the pesky India cut it to 18-15 at one point. From there, Heo Su-bong came through with some clutch points for South Korea.

Another seesaw affair ensued in the third set. With the scored deadlocked at 20-20, Na Gyeong-bok's ace and Jung's spike gave South Korea some breathing room. Han Sun-soo's ace ended the match for South Korea that was closer than it should have been.

In this photo provided by FIVB on Jan. 8, 2020, Jung Ji-seok of South Korea (L) tries to hit a spike past Mohan Ukkrapandian (C) and Deepesh Kumar Sinha of India in their Pool B match of the Asian Olympic men's volleyball qualification tournament at Jiangmen Sports Center Gymnasium in Jiangmen, China. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

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