Volleyball: Chinese women win gold in clash with Serbia

Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:12am EDT
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By Anthony Boadle

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - China's young women's volleyball team overcame a surging Serbian side on Saturday in four sets to take their country's third Olympic gold medal in the sport.

Serbia was competing for the first time for an Olympic medal and had beaten China in the preliminary round, but the Asian powerhouse prevailed in the final by 19-25 25-17 25-22 25-23.

The United States won bronze earlier on Saturday after beating the Netherlands, a consolation for the world's top-ranked team in their pursuit of an elusive gold.

China, coached by former top player Lang Ping, last won the gold medal in Athens in 2004. They won their first gold in Los Angeles in 1984 when Lang was on the team.

"Before the tournament we never thought we could win the gold," Lang, who coached the United States to a silver medal in 2008, told reporters after the match. "I think we were lucky.

"Our young players did not play well at the beginning, but they did at the important moment."

Serbia won the opening set with powerful serves and spikes by top scorer Brankica Mihajlovic, but China took control of the match in the key third set.

Serbia beat off an 8-point run by China and went down to an unstoppable spike by top Chinese scorer Zhu Ting.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Volleyball - Women's Gold Medal Match China v Serbia - Maracanazinho - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/08/2016. China's (CHN) players celebrate winning the match and the gold medal.  REUTERS/Yves Herman