News ID: 199512
Published: 0203 GMT August 28, 2017

Iran beats Russia to claim world U19 volleyball title

Iran beats Russia to claim world U19 volleyball title
Iranian players pose with their 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship trophy following the victory over Russia in the final showdown in Riffa, Bahrain, on August 27, 2017.

Iran kept its unbeaten run to claim the top spot in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship following the four-set win over Russia at the Isa City Sports Hall in Riffa, Bahrain, on Sunday.

Pourya Yali was on fire to help Iran record a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 21-25, 25-20) win over Russians in the final showdown, reported.

Yali chipped in 29 points to lead all scorers followed by Morteza Sharifi who scored 19 to guarantee the gold medal win for Iran. Maksim Sapozhkov, who came off the bench in the second set, top scored for Russia with 16 points.

Having eased past South Korea in the semifinal in straight sets, Iran got off to an aggressive start with 17 attacks to take the first set 25-20.

The Russian block caused some problems for Iran but Sharifi and Yali still sneaked in a second-set victory for Iran by a 25-23 score line.

Melnikov’s presence on the net was the key for Russia’s 25-21 comeback win in the third set.

In the thrilling fourth set, Iran scored through two crucial blocks that gave the Asian side a 22-20 lead before Yali sealed championship victory at 25-20 with a towering spike.

Iran’s captain Amirhossein Esfandiar was full of delight after the final, saying, “It’s a very good feeling to have my flag in first position.

“I am very happy because our staff tried really hard to develop our team. I am a player but I know about the mentality of our coaches and they really did a great job. I want to thank the FIVB for recognizing me as the MVP. We have many good talents in this team, hopefully we can make the senior team in the future.” Esfandiar added.

Iran’s coach Reza Farjad praised his side’s performance in the final and said, “My team played better than Russia. We saw it over eight matches and there is no question about it. We did not suffer any losses.

“We prepared for 11 months for this championship. In the Asian Championship, we only finished fourth behind Japan, Korea and China. This was a good motivation for us in the World Championship because we needed to go higher than any other Asian team, Farjad added.

“Two years ago, we got the bronze medal in the World Championship with a 3-1 win. Now this has happened and tonight I am very happy see the Iran flag being raised.” The champion’s coach said.

Iran’s U19 side started its campaign in Pool D of the competition with a 3-2 victory over Italy on the first day of the championship. The Asian powerhouse then went on to clinch straight-set victories over Mexico, China and the Czech Republic to make it into the round of 16 as the group winner.

In the second round, Iran thrashed Turkey 3-0 before the champion outpowered the South American giant, Brazil, in straight sets to set a semifinal meeting with South Korea.


Presidential praise


President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the country’s U19 volleyball players on claiming the world title in Bahrain.

“I congratulate our great nation on the promising performance of members of the Iran men’s national under-19 volleyball team at the final showdown of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Bahrain,” Rouhani said in a message on Monday.

He also thanked the coaches and related officials for their strenuous efforts and wished success for Iranian youths in all international arenas.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also offered his congratulations to the country’s people and sports community over the decisive victory of the Iranian players.

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