Mexico will participate in the men’s Olympic volleyball tournament for only the second time in their history, despite suffering defeat in their final match of the World Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Gimnasio Olimpico Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City.
The host nation headed into their tie against Tunisia knowing that they would be assured of a spot at the Games should they claim two sets in the contest.
Qualification edged closer after the Mexican team triumphed 25-23 in the tightly fought opening set, which could have been won by either side.
Tunisia, who had held an outside hope of securing the sole spot available at the tournament, turned the game around by winning the next two sets 25-23, 25-23 to set up a dramatic fourth set.
With the support of their home fans, Mexico responded to going behind in the encounter to claim a place at Rio 2016 by claiming the set 25-19.
Mexico’s North African opponents ended the tournament on a high by winning the decider 20-18, with Hichem Kaabi finishing as the top scorer on 29 points, however, it was the Mexican team who were left celebrating qualification to the Games for the first time.
Their previous appearance in the men’s tournament in 1968 had been due to the country being awarded a place as hosts of the Olympics in Mexico City.
Chile finished as the runners-up in the four-team qualifying event, after securing their second victory by overcoming winless Algeria.
The South Americans were stunned when Algeria secured the opening set of the tie 25-18 but immediately restored parity by winning the second 25-18.
They completed a comeback win by triumphing 25-19 and 25-23 in the remaining sets.
Mexico have now completed the full line-up of 12 countris in the Olympic tournament, where they will join World Cup qualifiers the United States and Italy, as well as hosts Brazil.
Argentina, Cuba, Russia, Egypt and Iran all reached the Games by earning continental qualifying places and Canada, France and world champions Poland booked their spots at last week’s World Olympic Qualification tournament in Tokyo.