Nepal men lose opening volleyball game at AsiadThe defeat leaves Nepal’s qualification hopes for the next round in tatters, despite a match in hand.
Nepal’s ambition of pulling off first victory in men’s volleyball at the Asian Games (Asiad) remained unfulfilled after they succumbed to a fourth set defeat against Bahrain despite winning the first set at the China Textile Covered Hall in Hangzhou on Tuesday.
Nepal pulled off a sensational 25-20 victory in the first set against Bahrain, who came into the tournament fresh after competing in the Asian Championship. But the minnows Nepal lost the remaining three sets, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15.
It was the fifth participation for Nepal men’s volleyball team in the Asian sports meet after 1978, 1982, 1986 and 2018 and they have yet to taste a victory. The defeat leaves Nepal’s qualification hopes for the next round in tatters, despite a match in hand. They are scheduled to play global powerhouse Iran, who are placed in the 11th position in the global rankings and second in Asian rankings.
“Playing in the Asian Games itself was a big achievement for us,” Nepal’s captain Man Bahadur Shrestha said after the game. “We were off to a good start but failed to continue with the momentum. I am, however, satisfied with the team’s performance and we are hopeful of putting up an improved show against Iran.”
In the first set, despite lagging behind by two points with a score of 9-11, Nepal earned five points after that to lead 14-12 and wrapped up the victory after earning three consecutive points in the later stage.
In the second set, Nepal claimed the first two points and were neck-to-neck early on with the score tied at seven each before losing the set. Bahrain dominated the next two sets to claim victory.
Nepal’s coach Hanna Abing said that his side faced difficulty in maintaining balance in the team as some members were omitted from the squad due to the punishment imposed on them. “We could not play a single practice match before coming to China, but we put up an impressive show in the first set,” said Abing. “It is not so easy to maintain a level like that of the first set in other games. We should be happy with our performance.”
Though the men’s volleyball kicked off on Tuesday, the Asian Games will formally begin on September 23. Nepal is set to participate in 29 events.