Tokyo, Japan, May 16, 2016 - The rest day at the Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan could not have come quick enough for some teams, while others will spend the day planning how to manage what will be a frenetic finish to a high pressure week.
After two days of competition the host nation, Japan, and Italy are the only two unbeaten teams, while Dominican Republic and Kazakhstan are they only teams without a win.
Of the rest, The Netherlands and Korea have both shown enough so far to convince their fans they have a good chance of being among the final four to qualify for this year’s Olympics.
Thailand and Peru are the ‘X’ factors at the moment, with Thailand in particular showing in its opening win against the Dominican Republic and its impressive first set against Italy that it has the game to go all the way.
Tuesday’s game between The Netherlands and Thailand could be the crucial match of the week. With most experts agreeing Italy, Japan and Korea are the front runners for Olympic qualification, the winner of the Dutch/Thai clash will go a long way towards earning a coveted Rio ticket.
Tuesday will also be an opportunity to see how good Japan is. The team has looked comfortable in the opening two matches against Peru and Kazakhstan, but the big test will come in front of a sell-out crowd against Korea tomorrow.
Korea could not have been more impressive in its 3-0 win over The Netherlands, making up for it’s disappointing 3-1 loss to Italy on the opening day.
Likewise, Peru bounced back on Sunday with a good win over Dominican Republic after a tough loss to Japan on the opening day, and will be looking to consolidate on Tuesday when it takes on Kazakhstan in the early morning game.
The road ahead looks tough for Kazakhstan and Dominican Republic. Kazakhstan had the tougher opening matches, but both teams will need to use Monday’s rest day to re-group if they are to have any chance of getting to the Olympics this year.