Peru coach hails Thai volleyball team as ‘best in Asia’ – Bangkok Post

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Thai players celebrate a point during the match against Peru at the women’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Tokyo in Tokyo on Sunday. (EPA photo)

Thailand blanked Peru in their last match on Sunday of the volleyball Olympic qualifiers, and though they missed out, their spirits were lifted when the Peruvian coach credited them as the strongest team in Asia.

“I’m happy Peru got the chance to play in this competition. I think Thailand is the best team in Asia. They beat Korea and played Japan close,” coach Mauro Marasciulo of Peru said, according to the FIVB official website of the tournament.

The Thai women national team played for pride after they were eliminated on Saturday when Japan finished ahead with a match to play to wrap up the women’s qualifying tournament in Tokyo for the Olympic berth in Rio de Janairo.

Captain Pleumjit Thinkaow consoles Nootsara Tomkom after the match. (FIVB photo)

The Thai spikers collected another win against Peru by beating them 25-17, 26-24, 25-23, despite resting some key players. The Thais finished fifth in the eight-team contest with four wins against three loses.

Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan punched their berth to Brazil.

Thailand lost their heartbreaking and controversial match against Japan 3-2 on Wednesday and then overcame a two-set deficit to win against South Korea on Saturday.

“We were able to prove our spirit in this tournament match after match. Both teams played their best today despite us being eliminated from Olympics,” the website quoted captain Pleumjit Thinkaow as saying.

Even captain Mirtha Uribe called her competitors “one of the best teams in the competition.”

Wilawan Apinyapong said in a post-match press conference that the last game proved that the result against Peru showed that the team could overcome disappointment over the end of their dream to play in the Olympics. Wilawan admitted the tournament could be her last chance to fulfill her Olympic dream.

But she had no plan to retire and would continue to do the best for the team.

Coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said he and the players had prepared for four years for the tournament.

Despite coming up short, the coach said: “The players did a good job. What we did will be valuable to people, especially young people, in Thailand. This will help Thai volleyball reach world-class level,” according to the website.

The team will return to Thailand on Monday at 4.30pm on a Thai Airways International flight from Tokyo.

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Peru coach hails Thai volleyball team as ‘best in Asia’ – Bangkok Post}