Iran booked their place in the men’s Olympic volleyball tournament for the first time after beating world champions Poland at the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) World Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, while France also earned a Rio 2016 spot.
Victory of China in their last match had put Iran on the cusp of claiming a place at the Games, with the highest ranked Asian nation guaranteed a spot, as well as the top three teams at the qualifier.
A superb display from Shahram Mahmoudi helped the Iranian team claim the opening sets 25-20, 25-18 against the world champions, who had earned Olympic qualification before the yesterday’s rest day.
Poland, led by the impressive Dawid Konarski, hit back to win the third 20-25 but the Iranian team held their nerve to eventually win a lengthy fourth set 34-32 to secure the victory.
The result ensured that Iran will take the Asian qualification spot, meaning the fourth place nation in the qualifier will also receive a berth.
Iran’s victory also moved them above Poland in the overall standings, which are now led by a French side, who booked their place at Rio 2016 by overcoming Venezuela in a thrilling contest.
France twice took the lead twice in the contest but were forced to play a deciding set, as bottom side Venezuela levelled on both occasions.
France finally ended the South American’s hopes of earning a first victory at the tournament, sealing a 25-21, 23-25, 25-11, 20-25, 15-5 win.
The final qualification spot is currently occupied by Australia, after they secured a 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24 victory over China to move fourth in standings.
Canada are narrowly behind the Australian team on points ratio, despite overcoming hosts Japan 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19 in the final match of the day.
They will take on China, who hold an outside hope of fourth place, in their final match of the competition tomorrow.
A victory for Canada could see them leapfrog Australia and earn the last Olympic spot, with their rivals concluding their campaign by taking on world champions Poland.
The second and final men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament got underway at the Gimnasio Olimpico Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City with the hosts securing an opening day win.
Mexico, who have not participated in the men’s Olympic tournament since hosting the Games in 1968, cruised to a 25-21, 25-16, 25-21 victory over Algeria.
Their triumph came shortly after Chile had sealed a straight sets 25-21, 25-21, 25-21 win in their match with Tunisia.
With only one spot will be on offer in the four-team competition, the winner in tomorrow’s tie between Mexico and Chile will move to the brink of qualifying for Rio 2016.