Formidable Sport Center made history on Tuesday as the first Vietnamese team to win the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship. In a thrilling finale, they staged an epic 3-2 comeback against Thailand’s Diamond Food Fine Chef, cementing their place in history.
The dramatic result of 21-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-22, and 15-10, accompanied by an impressive unbeaten record in the continent’s premier club championship, ended Vietnam’s 22-year gold-medal drought since the nation made its debut in the 2001 tournament as the host country.
Both teams fielded many national players at the packed 3,000-seater Vinh Phuc Indoor Stadium in the namesake Vietnamese province, in their final preparation for the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, which take place next week.
Diamond Food Fine Chef produced an impressive performance, with powerful attacks from Wipawee Srithong and Sasipaporn Janthawisut, backed up by intensified blocks from Natasa Cikiriz and Thichakorn Boonlert, to secure a convincing victory in the first two sets, 25-21 and 25-17.
However, things took a turn for the worse for the Thai team during the third set, despite taking an early lead with a three-point advantage at 11-8. Sport Center I then continued to enhance their performance, displaying impressive attacks to tie the score at 16-16 before ultimately taking the lead 21-17.
Players from Vietnam Sport Center I blocked an attack from Thailand’s Diamond Food Fine Chef during the final showdown of the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam, on May 2, 2023. The image captured by the Asian Volleyball Confederation shows the impressive defensive feat.
|Vietnam Sport Center I players block an attack from Thailand’s Diamond Food Fine Chef in their final showdown at the 2023 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship in Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam, May 2, 2023. Photo: Asian Volleyball Confederation
The Vietnamese side continued to play with composure and confidence, thwarting all Diamond Food Fine Chef’s attempts to get back in the game. They eventually won the third set 25-20.
I then displayed their immense energy, persevered, and eventually won the fourth set 25-22, leading to a decisive tiebreaker.
In the final set, the two teams were locked in a close-fought battle, with both sides ending the match at 7-7.
I then took a commanding 13-9 lead, effectively thwarting the Thai representative’s efforts to catch up. My brilliant form denied them a chance to close the gap.
At 14-10, Dinh Thi Tra Giang’s thunderous spike secured the Vietnamese team the match point and the championship. Her powerful attack sent the ball crashing into the floor, sparking jubilant celebration from her teammates and the watching crowd. It was a moment of pure triumph that will be remembered for years to come.
The victory qualified Sport Center I for the 2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, which is scheduled for December 11 to 17 in China.
For Diamond Food Fine Chef, the silver medal is a better achievement compared to the previous competition in Kazakhstan, where they finished in third with a bronze medal.