Chiba (Japan), Sep 12 (IANS): The Indian men's team got off to a poor start in the Asian Volleyball Championships 2021, losing to Bahrain in their opening Group A match on Sunday.
India, ranked 84th in the FIVB rankings, went down 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-21) to Bahrain, ranked 87th in the world.
It was a disappointing result for India as Bahrain was the only team ranked lower than them in Group A. Japan are ranked 10th and Qatar 31st in the World, thus making the Indian team's task more difficult in the Group. Things went on expected lines in Sunday's other match in the group as defending champion Japan beat Qatar 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-21).
India have to finish in the top two to advance to the next stage to finish among the top eight in the competition. They had finished eighth in the 2019 edition in Tehran, Iran.
India face an uphill task next against world No. 31 Qatar on Monday before taking on nine-time Asian champions Japan on Tuesday in their remaining two matches in Group A.
They have appeared in all but three editions of the men's Asian volleyball championships since it began in 1975 and have the best finish of fourth in the 2005 edition.
A biennial event, the 2021 Asian Volleyball Championships also acts as a qualifier for the 2022 FIVB World Championships - with the finalists gaining direct entry to the tournament.