Sun, Jun 08, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Japan qualify for Olympics

AFP , TOKYO

Japan defeated Argentina to become the top-placed Asian team in the men’s volleyball final qualifying round yesterday, securing a berth at the Beijing Olympics.

The Japanese spikers saved three match points to score a 26-28, 25-13, 25-19, 17-25, 20-18 victory, their sixth win against one defeat in the eight-team competition.

Japan are now unbeatable for Asian champions Australia and South Korea, who have a 3-3 win-loss record each with one more match each to play. Iran stood 1-5 ahead of winless Thailand.

The winners of the tournament and the best-placed Asian team qualify for the Olympics. If Japan win the tournament, the second-placed Asian team will qualify.

“I declare we are on target to win a medal,” Japan coach Tatsuya Ueta said.

He attributed the win to Japan’s “tough training” and paid tribute to the players not taking part yesterday.

It will be Japan’s first Olympics in 16 years. They won the gold medal in 1972, the silver in 1968 and the bronze in 1964.

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