Indian men will face Bahrain in their first group match of the Asian volleyball championship 2021 when the continental meet starts in Chiba, Japan on Sunday.
The Indian volleyball team is clubbed with Bahrain, Qatar and hosts Japan in Pool A of the 16-team championship. The final is on September 19.
Ranked 10th in the world, Japan is the highest-placed Asian team. Qatar are 27th and Bahrain 136th. The Indian men’s volleyball team is ranked 76th.
The 16 teams are divided into four groups with the top two teams from each group advancing into the last-eight stage, which will be played in a round-robin format. The semi-finals will be played on September 18.
The top two teams from the tournament will directly qualify for next year’s FIVB volleyball men’s world championship.
India are among the 10 teams that qualified for the Asian men’s volleyball meet based on their rankings in the previous championship. India had finished eighth in the 2019 edition held in Tehran, Iran.
India’s best finish at the Asian men’s volleyball championship is a fourth place in 2005, having lost 3-1 to South Korea in the bronze medal match.
World No. 11 Iran are the defending Asian champions while Japan were the bronze medal winners in the last edition. The two were the only Asian teams that competed at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Asian men’s volleyball championship is in its 21st edition and is being held in Japan for the first time in 38 years. Along with Chiba, matches will also be played in Funabashi.
Only five countries have won the previous 20 Asian titles. Japan have won nine times, South Korea four, China and Iran have won thrice each and Australia won once.
Asian men’s volleyball championship 2021: Schedule, fixtures and match times for India
All times are in India Standard Times
India’s Pool A matches
September 12, Sunday: Bahrain vs India - 6:00 AM IST
September 13, Monday: India vs Qatar - 8:30 AM IST
September 14, Tuesday: Japan vs India - 2:30 PM IST