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UPDATED: 10:05, May 24, 2004
China beat Japan in Olympic men's volleyball qualifiers
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Photo:China beat Japan in Olympic men's volleball qualifier
China beat Japan in Olympic men's volleball qualifier
China outpowered Japan 3-2 to remain unbeaten along with France in the final men's volleyball Olympic qualifying tournament for the Athens Games in Tokyo on May 23.

From the eight-team round-robin tournament, the winners and thebest-finishing Asian team will go to Athens this summer.

China, Asian runners-up who stunned continental champions SouthKorea 3-0 on Saturday, rallied back from three points down in the tie-breaker to score a 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 22-25 and 18-16 victory for a second straight win.

Photo:Chinese head coach Di Anhe (3rd L) give instructions to his team members.
Chinese head coach Di Anhe (3rd L) give instructions to his team members.
In other actions of the day, France won a nerve-wracking battleagainst Canada 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 while Iran and Australia, thirdand fourth in the Asian championships, both posted their first winby beating South Korea 25-18, 25-21, 25-16 and Algeria 25-17, 25-22, 25-16 respectively.

"When we were down 5-8 in the final set, we started to play ourbest game," said Chinese captain Wang Haibin. "We are not a top team in the world, but we played our best possible match today."

Chinese coach Di Anhe who called up four veterans, including Wang and top scorer Zhang Xiang for the tournament, said that "we showed our fighting spirit and played our own style. I'm very satisfied with that."

Photo:Chinese Zheng Liang and Zhang Xiang (C) blocking the ball.
Chinese Zheng Liang and Zhang Xiang (C) blocking the ball.
French coach Philippe Blain was "satisfied" with the hard-won win over Canada, and Argentine coach Uriarte Jon was also pleased with Australia's first win of the event.

However, South Korean Park Ki-Won had mixed feelings after coaching Iran to beat his home country for their second straight defeat and dented their hopes of making a sixth straight Olympics.

"When I saw the Iranian team, I saw their potential of becominga very good team. I wanted to bring Iran to top of Asia. This is my dream," said Park, who represented South Korea for the 1972 and1976 Olympics in Munich and Montreal.

Source: Xinhua

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