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Brits beaten by Japanese rivals

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Japan ended Great Britain’s hopes of a medal in the women’s sitting volleyball after they inflicted a third straight-sets defeat on the hosts at the ExCeL last night.

Britain needed a win after suffering 3-0 defeats to Ukraine and Netherlands in their first two pool A games but despite the full support of the packed crowd in South Arena 2, and the inspiration of GB men’s historic victory against Morocco this morning, coach Stephen Jones’ side could find no answer to the Asian side’s agile attacking play.

Japan, who lost their first game 3-1 to pool leaders Netherlands on Friday, were too nimble for Britain from the start and raced to a 10-3 lead. Superior in every department, they never looked in danger of being caught and cruised to a 25-11 set win.

Britain looked a side transformed in the second set, however, and kept pace with Japan before going into a 10-6 lead.

Japan’s consistency brought them back into it and the two sides traded points up to 18-18.

It was a spirited effort from captain Claire Harvey and her team but Japan’s attackers, led by Shiori Ogata, made fewer errors and they closed out the set, 25-21.

Britain also fought hard hard in the third set but could not quite keep pace. Britain continued to make errors while Japan blocked well and took advantage of their chances to win 25-14.

Ogata ended with 11 points to her name, while Britain’s best scorer was Samantha Bowen.

Japan, who failed to win a match at the 2008 Games in Beijing, were clearly delighted to get their first victory, while Britain must now focus on the classification matches for places five to eight which start on Tuesday evening.

Londoner Harvey admitted her team had been out-played, saying: “Obviously we are disappointed. We came here with high hopes. We knew it was going to be hard, we knew it was going to be a fast mobile game but the reality is we were outmanoeuvred and out-defended.

“We’ve learnt a lot from it. We defended better than we have done this competition, the hitters were trying everything they could but nothing worked and sometimes it just goes like that.

“It’s done now we can’t change it. We’ll go back, spend time tomorrow thinking about what went wrong, watching the video and all we can do is look forward to the next game on Tuesday and make sure we get that right.”

Fellow Londoner Martine Wright agreed with her captain’s assessment.

“We were really looking forward to this game but we were pretty much outmanoeuvred and out-defended,” she said. “They are a very good team at picking absolutely everything up.

“The second set went well and I think that if we had won that we would have done it but we’ve just got to learn from it and we’ve got two more games coming up.

“We’ve got a day off tomorrow so we can regroup and take those lessons forward. We are disappointed definitely but we’ve still got games to win.”

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