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Thailand down Dominicans for the first time

Pleumjit Thinkaow tries to force a shot past the Dominican blockers.

Pleumjit Thinkaow tries to force a shot past the Dominican blockers.

Thailand's women wrote a new chapter in the country's volleyball history, overpowering world No 9 Dominican Republic for the first time in the World Grand Prix Preliminaries Pool F match yesterday.

The fascinating 25-14 25-22 25-19 victory over the champions of the World Olympic Qualification Tournament Norceca Zone was a milestone as they failed to beat them on four occasions, including on their debut in the 2007 World Cup.

The in-form Thailand, overall second in the Pool A last week in Macau, were unfazed by the height advantage enjoyed by the strongly-built rivals. The Thais' average height is 174cm against the Dominicans' 184cm.

Thailand came up with excellent offensive combination with powerful hitter Onuma Sittirak and Pluemjit Thinkaow at the forefront of all their moves. After capturing the opening set with ease, Thailand maintained their tactical and technical superiority in the next two, foiling all the attempts of the rivals to attack.

"I'm glad that my team gained success after a long wait of more than four years. All praise to Dominicans for their fighting spirit and courage in adversity. Although they qualified for the London Olympics, they were determined and gave us a tough fight," Thai head coach Kiattipong said.

"Against hosts Japan on Sunday, we will try out various strategies. We try to beat every team. We play with plenty of spirit and every point in each match is very important to us," he said.

In another match, hosts Japan beat Puerto Rico 25-20 25-18 25-16.

Today, Puerto Rico take on Dominican Republic at 3.20pm (1.20pm Bkk time) and Thailand challenge Japan at 6pm local time (or 4pm Bkk time).




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