Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2016 - Thailand finished the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament with a 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-23) win over Peru to consolidate fifth place on the ladder.
There were emotional scenes among the Thai players after the match, with the dream of a first ever Olympics at least another four years away.
Two teams who 24 hours earlier were still in the mix to make the Olympics, had to pick themselves up and go to battle one last time.
Both teams took the court at close to full strength, and it was the Peruvians who held the early advantage to lead 15-13.
In an incredible finish to the set, Thailand won the last eight points to take the score to 25-17, leaving a shattered Peru to try and pick up the pieces.
Much of Thailand strong first set showing was built around successfully shutting down Peru’s number one weapon, 19-year-old Opposite Angela Leyva.
Sittirak Onuma with seven points, including two blocks, led the way for Thailand, while Leyva had just four points for Peru.
The Thai defence continued to dominate in the second set, but Leyva was not to be denied, winning 11 points for the set to take her personal tally to 15.
Captain Mirtha Uribe, after a quiet day against Netherlands, was back to her best, but Thailand was proving hard to stop.
Setter Pornpun Guedpard was again underlining her importance to the Thai team, her quick hands and lightning thought process providing her teammates with a comfortable ride.
The closing points of the set proved difficult for Thailand, but after giving up one set point it was able to close the deal 26-24.
With the finish line in sight, Thailand was made to work again in the third set. Leyva was continuing to find ways around the solid Thai defence, and Peru’s blocking came finally returned.
Uribe was leading the way with three block points, as Peru slipped out to a 13-11 lead.
Thailand captain Thinkaow Pleumjit took control of the set, helping steer her team into the lead, and holding its nerve in the closing stages, to wrap up the set 25-23 and the match 3-0.