The men from Iran won their record-breaking 7th sitting volleyball World Championships on Sunday in 12 editions of the tournament, beating their arch-rivals from Bosnia & Herzogovina, the world’s #2s, in straight sets 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-20).
On the other end of the spectrum are the Russian women, who are ranked #7 in the world, but roared their way to a first-ever sitting World Championship over the United States, who are the defending Paralympic Champions.
Match statistics were not available for any of the games of the tournament.
Led by Morteza Mehrzadselakjani, the tallest Paralympian ever at 8’1″ (2.46m), world #1 Iran dominated world #2 Bosnia & Herzogovina in the final match. In spite of being a dominant force in the final, Mehrzadselakjani wasn’t chosen for the tournament’s dream team. The Iranian men were dominant throughout the tournament, losing only two sets, and no matches, in total, including a 3-1 win over world #3 Egypt and a 3-0 sweep in the semifinals over world #5 Ukraine.
Ukraine then swept Brazil, another top 5 team in the world, in the bronze medal match. The final 3-0 score in that match belies its competitiveness: each set was won by the minimum 2 points, with two of the three going to extra points.
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Men’s Dream Team
- Best Server – Wescley Conceicao De Oliveira (BRA 11)
- Best Receiver – Eric Duda (USA 5)
- Best Setter – Evgenii Volosnikov (RUS 8)
- Best Spiker – Hesam Abdelmaksod (EGY 1)
- Best Blocker – Nizam Cancar (BIH 7)
- Best Libero – Ramezan Salehihajikolaie (IRI 11)
- Most complete player – Denys Bytschenko (UKR 5)
Men’s Final Ranking
1 – Iran
2 – Bosnia & Herzegovina
3 – Brazil
4 – Ukraine
5 – Russia
6 – Egypt
7 – China
8 – USA
9 – Kazakhstan
10 – Germany
11 – Netherlands
12 – Poland
13 – Croatia
14 – Iraq
15 – Japan
16 – Rwanda
In a final full of stunning rallies, the Russian women pulled a stunning upset over the American women: a team that was absolutely dominant in Rio en route to Paralympic gold.
The Americans swept the Russians in straight-sets in pool play, and looked like they might be headed that way in the final as well after cruising to a 25-18 first set win.
But a tenacious Russian team fought back, winning the next three sets, each in extra points, to take a 3-1 victory (18-25, 27-25, 26-24, 26-24).
That loss to the U.S. was Russia’s only of the tournament – they only dropped two sets otherwise. That includes sweeping world #2 China 3-0 in the semi-final.
China would go on to defeat Italy by that same 3-0 score (25-10, 25-19, 25-12) in a dominating bronze medal match.
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Women’s Final Ranking
1 – Russia
2 – USA
3 – China
4 – Italy
5 – Brazil
6 – Ukraine
7 – Canada
8 – Netherlands
9 – Iran
10 – Japan
11 – Rwanda
12 – Finland
13 – Slovenia
14 – Hungary
15 – Egypt
16 – Croatia
Best Server – Elizaveta Kunstman (RUS 9)
Best Receiver – Zhang Xufei (CHN 9)
Best Setter – Kaleo Okalani Kanahele (USA 14)
Best Spiker – Iuliia Mednikova (RUS 3)
Best Blocker – Kathryn Sue Holloway (USA 5)
Best Libero – Bethany Paige Zummo (USA 2)
Most Complete Player – Iuliia Mednikova (RUS 3)