Hangzhou, China, September 19, 2023 – Strong teams pulled off convincing wins against lower-ranked opponents on the opening day of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 Men’s Volleyball Competition, which kicked off in three competition venues here on Tuesday.
As Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Pakistan got their campaign off to brilliant starts with comfortable straight-set wins in the quadrennial sports extravaganza, Bahrain and Kazakhstan were handed serious threats from their rivals but bounced back to stop them in exhausting four and five sets respectively.
With only top two teams from each pool after the pool round-robin preliminaries advancing to the next round, the first-day win counted for a lot for all teams since it augurs well for their bright chances of making the cut for the next round.
At Linping Sports Center Gymnasium, the opening Pool D match saw Pakistan power past Mongolia in comfortable straight sets 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 for first victory in the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Opposite spiker Murad Khan was the most productive player for Pakistan to deliver 25 points from 18 attacks, 4 blocks and 3 aces, while devastating left-hander Khangal Tamiraa led Mongolia with 13 points including 12 attacks from 22 attempts.
Pakistan, which finished seventh at the last month’s Urmia-hosted Asian Senior Men’s Championship in Iran, made a solid start to lead with 7-point clear at 16-9 in the first set, thanks to Faryad Ali Usman’s powerful jump serves and Murad Khan’s spectacular attacks. The well-established Pakistani side extended it to 23-13, but dropped their rhythm shortly after that, leaving Mongolia to win three points in a row to reduce the margin to 16-23. To make short work of the Mongolians, Pakistan allowed them only one more point from Batsuuri Battur’s swift attack to wrap up the first set 25-17.
Both sides were locked to a tight contest early in the second set, which saw the pace-setters Pakistan unable to leave the opponents with more than two points until halfway at 17-15. However, they started to gain control after that to clinch the set 25-19.
Holding 2-0 advantage, Pakistan came up with consistency and confidence in the third set to lead by wide margin of 18-11 and reached the match point at 24-18. The gallant Mongolians clawed their way back, with Khangal countering with powerful spikes to save two match points, forcing Pakistan to ask for timeout. Their intention paid off impressively when Murad Khan hammered an…