India lose to Japan in Asian volleyball championship, finish bottom in group

Out of contention for the last eight, India will now compete for a best-possible finish within the ninth and 16th positions in the continental tournament.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Asian Volleyball Confederation

The men’s Indian volleyball team lost to Japan in their final Asian volleyball championship 2021 Pool A match at the Chiba Port Arena on Tuesday.

India lost to the hosts 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-18) to finish bottom of their group. The Indian team also went down in straight sets against Bahrain and Qatar in their other two Pool A matches and ended with zero points.

The top two teams from each pool moved onto the classification rounds to play for a position in the top eight. 

The two finalists qualify for the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Russia.

The bottom two teams from each pool play for the ninth to 16th positions in the competition. India will be in this group.

It was a disappointing campaign for India, who finished eighth at the last edition in 2019.

Heading into the fixture against Japan, India were already out of contention for a top eight finish but coach GE Sridharan and the team went out looking for a positive result against the nine-time champions.

However, the task proved to be a steep one against a Japanese team, who are world No. 10 and the top Asian team in the latest International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) rankings.

India, ranked world No. 89 ahead of the match, saw their hopes snuffed out early as they lost the opening two sets by similar 25-15 margins. India put up a stronger challenge in the third set but went down 25-18.

Japan's captain Yuki Ishikawa was the top scorer in the match with 18 points while India skipper Karthik Ashok was the standout performer for his team with nine points.

The Indian men’s volleyball team, ranked 76th ahead of the tournament, is now world No. 108.