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Thailand ended the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship qualification in Japan on Sunday with a second place in group A after being beaten by host Japan, though both teams have secured final berths in next year’s world championships.
Japan, ranked No.3 in the world, defeated Thailand in straight sets, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-10 to finish as the top team of the five-team Group, followed by Thailand.
The result was meaningless as Thailand’s place in the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship to be held in Italy in September is already assured, after it earned nine points from three straight-wins against Australia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Thailand, ranked 16th in the world, will be one of four teams representing Asia in the World Championships, which brings together 24 teams in the sport. It will be the fourth time Thailand has competed at the event, following 1998, 2002 and 2010. Thailand finished 13th in 2010.
Japan secured their 15th consecutive appearance in the world championship. It won the bronze medal in 2010. Russia was crowned the world’s best in the competition hosted by Japan in 2010, edging Brazil in a five-set match.
The Thai women’s volleyball team will arrive at Suvarnabhumi airport today on TG flight 647 at 9.25am. They will then prepare for one of the most prestigious tournaments on the continent, the Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, which will be held in Nakhon Ratchasima from September 13 – 21. Sixteen teams will be playing in the 17th edition of the biennial tournament which is also a qualifying event for three competitions including next year’s World Grand Prix.
Somporn Chaibangyang, president of the Volleyball Association of Thailand on Saturday said the Thai team targeted a top-four finish in the event. “We want to win the tournament but it is not going to be easy with the presence of Japan and China. Kazakhstan and South Korea are also strong” Mr Somporn said.
Story by Ann Kwanta