Iran top Asian qualifiers for 2018 World Championship


Iran celebrate qualification to the 2018 FIVB World Championship, together with China from the Asian qualifiers in Ardabil.

Lausanne, Switzerland, August 14, 2017 - Hosts Iran finished undefeated and topped the standings as the Asian qualification tournament for the 2018 FIVB World Championship wound down Monday in the city of Ardabil. Iran and China had already clinched the two qualifying spots since Sunday, with a day to spare.

The top two sides of the five-team, single round robin tournament in Ardabil qualified to the 2018 World Championship, which will be jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria next year.

On Monday Iran shut out Qatar 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-19) to finish the tournament undefeated and without dropping a single set. With coach Igor Kolakovic fielding mostly reserves, it was Reza Ghara with 12 points and Ali Shafiei with 10 who topped the scoring table.

Previously on the closing day Korea had registered their first victory in the tournament, 3-1 (25-18, 25-12, 28-30, 25-22) over Kazakhstan who finished winless. Lee Kangwon led the scoring for Korea with 16 points and Kirill Gurin scored 12 for Kazakhstan.

Final standings:
1. Iran 4 wins, 12 pts
2. China 3 wins, 9 pts
3. Qatar 2 wins, 5 pts
4. Korea 1 win, 4 pts
5. Kazakhstan 0 wins, 0 pts

Iran will be competing in the World Championship for the fourth time straight and sixth time overall, after a debut in 1970 and a best ever finish of sixth last time around in 2014.

China will be making their 14th appearance in the FIVB's flagship competition. They first took part in 1956 and have been competing continuously since 1994 in the quadrennial event. China's best ever finish was seventh place twice, in 1978 and 1982.

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Last month Japan and Australia claimed the other two berths available to Asian teams, through a qualification tournament held in Canberra.

Hosts Italy and Bulgaria and defending champions Poland have direct tickets to the FIVB's flagship tournament. France, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, Finland, and Belgium from Europe plus Japan and Australia from Asia, and Brazil from South America have already secured their berths through continental qualifiers.


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