Monday, September 15, 2008

Iran dominates Paralympics sitting volleyball

China Daily - Iran sitting volleyball: The Iranian men's volleyball team exacted revenge against old foe Bosnia & Herzegovina after an eight-year wait at the Chinese Agricultural University Gymnasium on Monday as 4,000 spectators cheered on.

Iran wrapped up the final in straight sets, taking a little over an hour to win its fifth gold medal in six Paralympics.

Bosnia & Herzegovina derailed Iran's 16-year gold medal ride at the Games four yeas ago, leaving its opponent thirsting for revenge.

The world's two best teams met again in the final on Monday on the last competition day of sitting volleyball in Beijing.

Though Bosnia & Herzegovina entered the Paralympics as World No 1, hundreds of vocal Iranian fans boosted their team's morale throughout the match.

"We prepared well for the win," said Jalil Eimery, the Iranian captain.

It looked like the Bosnia & Herzegovina was the stronger side when Ismet Godinjak's spike sent the match into the first technical timeout with his team leading 8-4.

But it was Iran that came back strongly to take the first set 25-22.

Great exchanges in the early minutes of the second set saw the score level pegging all the way to 8-8.

But again Iran, the most attacking team with two of the tournament's best spikers, took the lead with a rare round of blocks and saves to enjoy a four-point lead ahead of the second technical timeout.

The Iranians were more aggressive in the following points, winning four in a row to take the set 25-18.

Bosnia & Herzegovina was leading halfway through the third set, before Iran came back again to lead the set for the first time at 15-14.

But as tensions rose, the Iranians were stronger in both attack and defense, while their opponents found it more and more difficult to stop them.

With match point at hand, the Iranians teetered to lose four consecutive points before regaining composure.

Mohammad Khaleghi's spike took his team to a sweet victory.

"Though we won today, it will not mean we will keep on winning. The rivalry will continue," said Iran's head coach, Hadi Rezaei Garkani.

Bosnia & Herzegovina sent one shooter, two shot-putters and the men's volleyball team to the Beijing Paralympics; and the volleyball silver was the delegation's first and only medal in Beijing.

A fifth-set decider was needed to separate Russia and Egypt in the closely fought bronze medal match.

For the Russian team, the result capped off a pleasing Paralympic debut.

But for World No 3 Egypt, bronze medalist at the Athens Paralympics, failure to win a medal was disappointing.

No comments: