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Volleyball: Japan loses 5th straight, France claims Olympic berth

Tokyo, May 29, Kyodo/OANA/IRNA -- Host Japan showed gritty determination against unbeaten France but suffered its fifth straight defeat at the men's final Athens Olympics qualifying tournament Saturday.

The French team need all five sets but triumphed 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 21-25, 15-12 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium to claim first place with its sixth straight victory while securing a berth this summer's games.

Hiroyuki Kai and Nobuyoshi Hosokawa put up a spirited challenge for Japan but France dominated to reach the Olympics for the first time in 12 years.

Japan (1-5), ranked 19th in the world, missed a chance to return to the summer games for the first time in three Olympics after suffering a fourth defeat on Friday.

Only the overall winner and the best Asian team from the eight-team competition will qualify for Athens.

Elsewhere, Australia (5-1) walloped China 3-0 to earn its fifth win, while China slipped to a 4-2 record at the tourney.

Iran (3-3) routed Algeria 3-0 and Canada (4-2) sent South Korea to its fifth defeat in a 3-1 victory.

... Payvand News - 5/29/04 ... --

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