Thai spikers rally to beat Taiwanese in Asian opener

Thai spikers rally to beat Taiwanese in Asian opener

Thailand's Pleumjit Thinkaow spikes the ball during the Pool C match against Taiwan. Onuma Sittirak is on her left.
Thailand's Pleumjit Thinkaow spikes the ball during the Pool C match against Taiwan. Onuma Sittirak is on her left.

Thailand survived an early scare to defeat Taiwan 3-1 (20-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-20) in their opening Pool C match of the 2019 Asian Women's Volleyball Championship in Seoul on Sunday.

Pleumjit Thinkaow, Onuma Sittirak, Chatchu-on Moksri, Malika Kanthong, Tichakorn Boonlert, Pornpun Gerdpard and Piyanut Pannoy started the match at Jamsil Gymnasium, but it was the Taiwanese who got off to a stronger start and took the opening set.

Thailand recovered in the second set, with setter and captain Nootsara Tomkom and middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang replacing Pornpun and Pleumjit respectively.

The third and fourth sets were both closely fought but Thailand were more clinical when it most mattered as they took all three points.

Thailand, who won the continental championship twice in 2009 and 2013, have a rest day on Monday, while Taiwan will play New Zealand in their second pool match. The Thais will play New Zealand on Tuesday.

Hosts South Korea, who have never won the Asian crown, also got off to a winning start, hammering Iran 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-14) in Pool A.

Four-time winners Japan launched their title defence with a comfortable 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-8) victory over India, while Kazakhstan also claimed their opening win, beating Australia 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-21) in Pool B.

China also had an easy win over Sri Lanka in their opening Pool D match. The 13-time Asian champions won 3-0 (25-11, 25-9, 25-12).

They play Indonesia in their second pool match on Monday.

The top two teams from each of the four pools will progress to the second round, which will feature two four-team pools.


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