Just like four years ago, Paralympic and world champions Iran will play Iraq while world No. 10 Kazakhstan will take on China in the 2018 Asian Para Games Sitting Volleyball men’s semifinals, which will take place on Wednesday at the GBK – Tennis Indoor Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Tuesday saw the last day of men’s Preliminary Round pool play with the top side in the world Iran beating China 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-15), in what was a repeat of the 2014 and 2010 final, to top Group B ahead of the world No. 6 Chinese.
Kazakhstan, who finished fourth in Incheon, Korea four years ago, finished first in Group A after beating Indonesia 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-18) while, Iraq, ranked 11th in the world, confirmed their spot in the semifinals by finishing second behind Kazakhstan after beating world No. 32 Myanmar 3-1 (14-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-18).
Earlier in the day, Japan and Korea fought out a superb five set thriller to see who would finish third in Group B with Tokyo 2020 Paralympic hosts Japan, ranked 14th in the world, prevailing 3-2 (22-25, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 15-12) over world No. 21 Korea.
Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, Japan and Indonesia joined China and Iran in the semifinals with world No. 10 Japan beating hosts Indonesia 3-1 (25-18, 25-7, 19-25, 25-21) to join China and Iran in the semifinals.
Iran’s 3-0 (25-8, 25-14, 25-14) win over Mongolia in the last match of the day, saw world No. 18 Mongolia miss out on the semifinals as they were consigned to fifth and last place in the five-team Group, having suffered four defeats from as many matches.
Rio 2016 Paralympic runner’s up, 2018 World Championship bronze medallists and two-time defending champions China looked in ominous form as the maintained their unbeaten record with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-12) win over 2014 Asian Para Games silver medallists Iran in pool play.
The final order in the Group will be confirmed following the final Preliminary Round match on Wednesday between world No 2 China and Indonesia.
Unless Indonesia pools off a huge upset, China is expected to win and top the women’s group and will play Indonesia, who are expected to finish fourth, again in the semi-finals later in the day with Iran expected to play Japan.
Wednesday will the men’s and women’s semifinals and men’s classification matches take place followed by the finals on Thursday.
Photo 1: Iraq celebrate maintaining their record of reaching the Asian Para Games Sitting Volleyball semifinals in every edition (three times)
Photo 2: China’s Bin Gong sets
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