The biennial tournament will be held simultaneously from October 1 to 9 at the 3,500-seater Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium in Nakhon Pathom province and the 4,000-seater Ratchaburi Gymnasium in Ratchaburi province. Both gymnasiums are located apart with a distance of 41 kilometres.
The competition serves as the Asian qualification event for the 2013 FIVB World Junior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Czech Republic. This will be the first edition which offers four tickets for the Asian countries to contest the 20-team world meet.
The participating teams comprise New Zealand, Iran, Kuwait and hosts Thailand in Pool A and Mongolia, India, Vietnam and defending champions China in Pool B.
Pool C consists of Hong Kong, Korea, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan, while Turkmenistan, Japan, Australia and Chinese Taipei are in Pool D.
The group round-robin preliminaries will take place simultaneously from October 1 to 3 at both Nakhon Pathom and Ratchaburi Gymnasiums.
After the preliminaries of the first three days, only top two teams from each pool will next make the cut for the 1st-8th round, while the lower-ranked two sides from each pool will play in the 9th-16th classification round.
The FIVB world No. 1 China, reigning and nine-time champions, will open their title defense against Mongolia in the curtain-raisers in Nakhon Pathom. Among the 16 participating teams, the Chinese players have the best height average of 186cm, with the 193cm Xu Ruayo emerging as the tournament’s tallest player.
Japan, the FIVB world No.7 and five-time champions, sent a strong team with not so tall players, but the team are known for their stubborn defence and never-say-die attitude. Kaori Ueno, standing 180cm tall, is the team’s tallest player. Japan are due to take on Australia in their first-round match on Monday in Nakhon Pathom.
Hosts Thailand, whose best performance in the Asian meet was the second place in 2002 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, have their sights firmly set on the top four in this episode on home soil. They are scheduled to play Iran in their first clash in Ratchaburi.
“We are fortunate to have a comfortable draw in Pool A. I’m now thinking about the last eight teams which will allow us more difficulties. However, to make a cut for the next year’s world meet, we have to finish among the top four. Therefore, I have targeted my girls to make it to the semi-finals,” said Nattapon Srisamutnark, who steered his side to win the last week’s South East Asian Junior Women’s Championship in Nakhon Pathom.
Nattapon also assisted head coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai to help the Thai women’s national team win the maiden AVC Cup and the impressive fourth place in this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix.
“My team’s reception is still below 80 per cent standard and if we need to make it the top four teams, we have to mend the receiving tactics. Our performance in the Asean meet was quite okay, but to match much stronger teams such as China and Japan, we have to play with more aggressions and varieties. However, playing on home soil, I’m upbeat my girls will have their dreams of advancing to the semi-finals fulfilled,” he added.
On Monday, the first-day clashes at the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium see Mongolia take on China in the curtain-raisers, India meet Vietnam, Turkmenistan play Chinese Taipei and Japan meet Australia.
At the Ratchaburi Gymnasium, New Zealand challenge Kuwait, Hong Kong play Kazakhstan, Korea take on Sri Lanka and Thailand play Iran.
On Sunday evening, the general technical meeting was held at the Whale Hotel in Nakhon Pathom, with team managers, head coaches and representatives from 16 participating teams taking part. The meeting was followed by the welcome party and the opening ceremony. Somporn Chaibangyang, president of the Thailand Volleyball Association, presided over the ceremony and presented souvenirs to all participating teams.
Pool A: New Zealand; Iran; Kuwait; Thailand
Pool B: Mongolia; India; Vietnam; China
Pool C: Hong Kong; Korea; Sri Lanka; Kazakhstan
Pool D: Turkmenistan; Japan; Australia; Chinese Taipei
12.00pm: Mongolia v China
2pm: India v Vietnam
4pm: Turkmenistan v Chinese Taipei
6pm: Japan v Australia
12.00pm: New Zealand v Kuwait
2pm: Hong Kong v Kazakhstan
4pm: Korea v Sri Lanka
6pm: Thailand v Iran
12.00pm: Mongolia v India
2pm: Chinese Taipei v Australia
4pm: Turkmenistan v Japan
6pm: China v Vietnam
12.00pm: Kazakhstan v Sri Lanka
2pm: Iran v Kuwait
4pm: Hong Kong v Korea
6pm: Thailand v New Zealand
12.00pm: Turkmenistan v Australia
2pm: China v India
4pm: Mongolia v Vietnam
6pm: Japan v Chinese Taipei
12.00pm: Hong Kong v Sri Lanka
2pm: Korea v Kazakhstan
4pm: New Zealand v Iran
6pm: Thailand v Kuwait
October 4 Rest day
To read the latest news click here