Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(LEAD) S. Korea stays alive in Olympic men's volleyball qualifying tournament with narrow win

All News 22:32 January 09, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with semifinals draws in paras 8-9)

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea advanced to the semifinals of the Asian Olympic men's volleyball qualifying tournament on Thursday, beating Qatar in a five-set thriller in China to stay alive in the competition.

Park Chul-woo led all players with 20 points, as 24th-ranked South Korea prevailed over 33rd-ranked Qatar 3-2 (25-18, 28-26, 22-25, 20-25, 15-13) in the final Pool B match at Jiangmen Sports Center Gymnasium in Jiangmen, China.

South Korea nearly blew a 2-0 set lead, and was down 9-7 in the fifth set before staging a late rally.

South Korea finished second in Pool B, behind Qatar, and those two countries are moving on to Saturday's semifinals. Only the winner of the tournament will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In this photo provided by FIVB on Jan. 9, 2020, Jeon Kwang-in of South Korea (R) hits a spike against Belal Nabel Abunabot of Qatar 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's last appearance in Olympic men's volleyball came at Sydney 2000.

Qatar, which earlier defeated India and Australia by 3-0, still finished first in Pool B with seven points. A 3-0 win and a 3-1 win are both worth three points, and a 3-2 win is worth two points for the winner and one point for the loser.

South Korea opened the tournament with a 3-2 loss to Australia, but defeated India 3-0 and then had another five-setter on Thursday, earning six points.

Later Thursday, Iran defeated China in straight sets to win Pool A, setting up a semifinals showdown against South Korea on Saturday at 4 p.m. local time, or 5 p.m. in Seoul. South Korea is 13-14 against Iran, but has lost nine of the past 10 meetings, including the last five in a row.

The other semifinals match will pit Qatar against the Pool B runner-up, China.

Coached by Im Do-hun, South Korea faced a must-win situation against Qatar, which stunned No. 15 Australia in straight sets on Wednesday. Given that South Korea lost to Australia earlier in the week, the team's chances of getting past Qatar didn't appear all that great.

But South Korea came out firing early on, taking a 7-1 lead in the first set and building a seemingly comfortable 18-8 advantage. Qatar got it to 19-16, before Jung Ji-seok and Choi Min-ho went on a tear to take the set at 25-18.

South Korea held the set point in the next frame at 24-23, but the teams went to deuce. With South Korea up 27-26, Jeon Kwang-in's clinching spike gave South Korea a 2-0 set lead.

South Korea dropped the next two sets, as Qatar shored up its defense. And in the deciding fifth set, South Korea battled to take a 12-11 lead. And with a 14-13 lead, South Korea lucked into the win thanks to Qatar's blunder with the serve.

In this photo provided by FIVB on Jan. 9, 2020, Shin Yung-sik of South Korea celebrates a point against Qatar in the teams' 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)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!