China too strong for Uzbekistan
Defending champions China flexed their muscles in a comfortable straight-games triumph over minnows Uzbekistan in their opening match of the Asian Women's Championship at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium last night.
It was more like a practice match as the Chinese team provided an hour of entertainment for a full-house of 3,000 fans in securing a 25-6, 25-18, 25-13 victory.
China could also afford a lapse of concentration in the second game, allowing the Uzbeks to lead 7-5 before they regained their focus.
Chinese head coach Hu Jin is clearly determined to win the title as he fielded his strongest combination in the starting lineup, led by star spiker Sun Yue and attacker Wu Yongmei, both members of China's silver-winning team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Despite suffering from a knee injury, Sun played a key role in the match - an attempt by Hu to prepare her for more important clashes later this week.
Sun said she still needed a couple of matches before she could judge her form as the Uzbeks failed to test her to the full yesterday.
'I couldn't really evaluate my form now because we didn't face much resistance from them. I feel okay today,' Sun said.
Coach Hu said the match was a good opportunity for his players to get some feel for competition.
'I used all the 12 players I brought here to allow them all to get used to the conditions here. But I don't know what weaknesses we might have because we won so easily. They will surface when we play stronger teams,' Hu said.
China will have another chance to fine-tune their rhythm today when they take on Kazakhstan, but their toughest group match will come on Wednesday when they meet South Korea, who beat Australia 25-8, 25-10, 25-15 yesterday.
In Group A, Hong Kong crashed to a 25-6, 25-3, 25-11 defeat against Taiwan while Thailand took a game off title contenders Japan before losing, 22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-17.