In the AVC Western Zonal pool 5 competition held in Manama, Bahrain from July 4 to 6, host Bahrain and Kuwait finished in the top two, booking their tickets to the final round. Bahrain showed their clear supremacy over their two rivals beating Iraq 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-20) and Kuwait in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-22) to top the three team tournament. Kuwait beat Iraq 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 24-26, 15-11) to finish in second place.
The AVC Western Zonal Pool 4 matches were held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from July 5 to 7. Qatar stormed past Lebanon in straight sets (25-20, 25-22, 25-15) before beating Saudi Arabia 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-27, 25-16) to place first and enter the final round. Saudi Arabia booked the other ticket by winning a hard-fought tiebreaker over Lebanon 3-2 (14-25, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 15-12) while Lebanon was winless.
The 16 teams in the final round are:
– Australia, Iran, China, Japan, South Korea (the five teams automatically qualified as Asia’s top five in the FIVB world ranking);
– Chinese Taipei (Eastern Zone);
– Thailand and Indonesia (Southeastern Zone)
– Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan (Central Zone)
– Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (Western Zone)
– New Zealand from Oceania Zone (New Zealand qualified automatically since no other team registered in the Oceania Zone).
The final round is to be held in September. Australia, Iran, China and Japan will jointly host the final round to form Pool A, B, C and D respectively, with three qualified teams joining each pool. Only the eventual winners from each pool, totaling four from Asia, will be eligible for the next year’s 24-team FIVB World Championship in Poland.
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