Asia set for busy 2017


China seek to confirm Rio 2016 Olympic supremacy with continental title in Asia.

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 11, 2017 - This year is set to be the busiest ever for the Asian Volleyball Confederation when a total of eight AVC indoor volleyball tournaments will be held, with the Asian Senior Men's Championship attracting a record of 22 teams.

The 11th Asian Girls' U18 Championship, which is due to take place in Chongqing, China between March 5 and 13, will get the 2017 AVC competitions off the ground. So far, a total of 13 teams have confirmed they will compete in the nine-day tournament including hosts China, Korea, Samoa, Chinese Taipei, Australia and New Zealand. Title-holders and successive five-time champions Japan will also be back to defend their crown.

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The second tournament of the year will take place in Myanmar when Nay Pyi Taw will host the 11th Asian Boys' U19 Championship between March 28 and April 5. Australia, Bangladesh, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and Sri Lanka are among 16 teams which have already confirmed their presence. Defending and consecutive six-time champions Iran will be expected to mount a strong challenge.

Iran will host the Asian Men's U23 Championship, which will be held in Ardabil between May 2 and 10, with 14 teams vying for honours. Iran snatched a first title following a scintillating straight-set victory over Korea in the final showdown in Nay Pyi Taw two years ago. They will aim to repeat that feat at home and take on determined challenges from China, Australia and Japan.

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand will set the scene for the second Asian Women's U23 Championship from May 13 to 21. As of January 10, 14 teams have submitted their entries to contest in the competition. The Thai spikers, who finished second to champions China at the event two years ago, will want to make an impression in front of the country's enthusiastic fans.

Just one day after the conclusion of the Asian Women's U23 Championship in Thailand, the 2017 Asian Women's Club Championship will take place in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, from May 23-31. So far, eight teams have confirmed their participation in the annual competition from China, Iran, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam and hosts Kazakhstan. The winners will secure a berth to compete at the FIVB Women's Club World Championship in Japan.

Vietnam will host the 2017 Asian Men's Club Championship from June 27 to July 5, with 13 teams fighting for the crown and an Asian berth at the FIVB Men's Club World Championship. Clubs from China, Iran, Japan, Chinese Taipei and Thailand have already decided to join the fray.

The remaining two tournaments of the year are the Asian Senior Men's and Women's Championships. The 19th Asian Senior Men's Championship in Surabaya, Indonesia will take place between July 24 and August 1 and the 19th Asian Senior Women's Championship in the Philippines from August 9 to 17.

The Asian Senior Men's Championship in Indonesia will feature a record 22 teams. Japan, who stunned successive two-time champions and hosts Iran in four dramatic sets to claim victory at the most recent Asian meet, will return to defend their title. Japan and Iran will be joined by Australia, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, New Zealand, Pakistan, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

The Asian Senior Men's Championship made its debut in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia with only seven teams participating. Since, the competition has been held biennially. In 2013, a total of 21 teams took part in the 17th Asian Senior Men's Championship in Dubai, where Iran proved their invincibility to beat Korea in the final showdown to win their second title. Iran, however, lost their crown on home soil following a shock 3-1 loss to Japan in 2015.

Fifteen teams have already submitted their entry forms for the Asian Senior Women's Championship in the Philippines, including defending and 13-time champions China. Strong challenges can be expected from former three-time champions Japan, two-time winners Thailand and Korea. At the 2015 edition in Tianjin, China, the Koreans came within a whisker of winning a first crown, but hosts China dominated the final to win the title.

The other teams which will contest the top-flight event in the Philippines include Australia, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Maldives, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam and hosts the Philippines.