India have been grouped with former champions Japan, Qatar and Bahrain in Group A of the 2021 Asian Men’s Volleyball Championships in Chiba, Japan, and will start their campaign against Bahrain in their opening match on Sunday.
India, who qualified for the event via the 2019 Asian Championships in Tehran, will take on Qatar on Monday and will complete their preliminary group proceedings against Japan on September 14 in the tournament that will be held jointly in Chiba and Funabashi, Japan, from September 12-19.
The 16 teams in the fray have been divided into four groups of four teams each with the group winner qualifying for the semifinal league while the second-placed teams will make it to Pool F, which will play for the 5-8 positions.
Hong Kong, Iran, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia, China, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea are the other teams in the fray.
It is a tough group for India as Japan are ranked world No. 10 while Qatar are 28th. India are ranked 76th and Bahrain 137th.
India need to beat both Qatar and Bahrain to at least finish second in the group and play for the 5-8 place playoffs.
Teams get three points for winning the best-of-five-sets match 3-0 or 3-1 and the loser does not get any point. But in case a team wins 3-2, the winner gets two points and the loser one. The team with the most points will top the pool and qualify for the semifinal league.