Japan and Thailand brought the first tie-break into WOQT and a lot of drama was involved in the fifth set. What exactly happened? After maintaining their 9-3 lead to 12-8, Thailand lost the momentum when coach Radchatagriengkai K requested challenge which according to the referees was not allowed, causing anger on Thai side. Thailand called time out to cool things down, but once teams were back on court the first red card was given to Radcatagriengkai K for his earlier reaction, changing score to 12-9.
Japan’s Miayshita made it 12-10 with an ace, with Ishii adding point in attack and forcing Thailand to call second time out, as their lead melted to 12-11. The block by Ishii and attack by Sakoda gave Japanese 13-12, stirring the nerves on Thai side. Thailand subbed in Guedpard for Tomkom, which seemed to be the cause of discussion between the coach and the second referee. Radchatagriengkai K received warning from first referee Luis Macias to calm down otherwise he will receive another card. Eventually Macias punished the coach with another red card, making Thailand to lose another point and giving Japan match ball. Thai team defended themselves for 14-13, but Japan won at 15-13 with Sakoda’s spike.
Watch the match here.
The case caused huge protest among Thai team, with unsurprising tears from the players. Following the match coach Radchatagriengkai K shared his disappointment during the press conference, explaining details of his discussions with the officials.
[quote cite=’Radchatagriengkai K via FIVB’]I would like to thank my players who gave their all tonight. We will give our best in the rest of the matches. These players are my heroines. In my life something like this has never happened. I have been a volleyball coach for 20 years and never saw this. I asked why the touch panels were not displaying member changes and I asked for a clarification and I was given a red card. Then I asked again why the tablets were not displaying the members and got the second red card. It was very unfair to the Thai team. We play with sportsmanship. This judgment was not right. The match is over now and we have to accept the result. The system should be reconsidered. We could not change players even though my players were in the changing area.[/quote]
According to our source Thailand was expected to file protest this morning, ahead of their match against Kazakhstan. It is however highly unlikely it will be accepted and considered in Thailand’s favour.
Lost ticket to Rio?
The tie-break caused outrage among Thai fans, who shared their disappointment over social media. With adrenaline on high level during the game there was no surprise Thailand reacted very emotionally on the entire situation and makes referees decision questionable on whether red cards were necessary looking at coach’s behaviour. Perhaps warning announced with the yellow card could have been enough to make Thailand stop discussions, without affecting the score of the match and allowing teams to decide on the result by playing volleyball.
Could this tie-break cost them their ticket to Rio 2016? All teams have three matches to go to begin with. Thailand already lost one point on their match against Japan when the hosting team tied 2-2 in the fourth set. The victory would have given Thailand five points in the table, but wouldn’t change their situation in WOQT table. Even with five points on their side, Thailand would have Japan with 7 (in that scenario) and Peru with 6 between them and the 4th place (see table below).
Their next opponents are Kazakhstan, Korea and Peru respectively. The match against Japan showed that Thai can give any team in this competition run for their money. Will three victories give them the qualification? It’s tough to predict at this point. The weekend will bring the answer on Thailand’s first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games.