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From Fiji Times Online (17 June 2009)

Kulawai makes it

By Rodney Duthie

Makarita Erasito at net
Game, set and match ... Makarite Erasito, left, and Rebeka Lasaqa power Fiji Kulawai into the next round.

THE Fiji women's volleyball team has qualified for the third round of the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship in Chengdu, China.

This follows Fiji's three-set win over Bangladesh on Sunday.

Fiji, with an average height of 177cm against Bangladesh's 163cm, overwhelmed their pint-sized rivals with spectacular spikes at the net to capture their first and final win in Pool C, 25-4, 25-6, 25-10 in 53 minutes.

At the end of the three-day round-robin competition, Thailand topped the pool as expected with six points from three straight wins, followed by Chinese Taipei with five points from two wins.

Fiji collected four points from one to finish third, with winless underdogs Bangladesh in fourth.

Thailand and Fiji next join China and the second-place finisher from Pool B in third-round Pool D in Chengdu, China from July 3-5.

The advance to the third round has the Fiji Volleyball fraternity on a high.

"This is great news because this would be the first time that any of our teams have reached that standard.

"Whatever we had planned is succeeding," Fiji Volleyball Federation president Elesi Ketedromo said.

"It shows that our local coaches can do well on the international scene and the team is bonding well.

"The news has brought a lot of happiness and joy to us."

Ketedromo said the team would not return to Fiji until after the third round.

"The team leaves straight away for training in China until the third round begins," Ketedromo said.

"They need to win the third round to qualify.

"Their experience from round two against the Asian teams will go a long way.

"They would have learnt a lot and now know what to expect."

Captain Anaseini Seniloli finished as the second best spiker of the tournament with 28, one behind leader Chun Yi Lin of Chinese Taipei.

Makarite Erasito was placed fifth (14) and Claire Delai seventh (14).

Rabeka Lasaqa was placed the fourth best overall blocker

Chinese Taipei will move on to Pool E against South Korea and the teams finishing first and third in Pool B, scheduled to be held in Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan from June 16-18.