China stake a title claim
CHINA boosted their confidence for a first Asian men's title by crushing regional giants South Korea in the final match of the World League preliminaries at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium yesterday.
The Chinese, who have been overshadowed by South Korea and Japan in the past, won 17-15, 15-13, 15-7.
It was their third triumph in four matches against the Koreans in the World League, giving them fourth place in the six-team Pool B behind Italy, Cuba and the Netherlands.
Chinese coach Shen Fulin said: ''The team have been playing together for three years and they are now beginning to mature, so we are hopeful of doing well at the Asian Championship.'' The Asian Championships are scheduled for Thailand in seven weeks.
Korean coach Yoo Suk-chul said there will be many new faces in his squad for the Asian tournament.
Meanwhile, Hongkong suffered a 15-6, 15-1, 15-10 defeat to Indonesia in their opening Group A match of the Asian Women's Championship in Shanghai.
Asian giants South Korea and Japan scored crushing straight sets victories over New Zealand and Australia respectively while Taiwan defeated North Korea 15-8, 15-9, 15-17, 15-9.
Former Soviet states Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, making their debut in the Asian tournament, scored first-up wins against Sri Lanka and the Philippines.