The Japanese men’s hope for a second consecutive Olympic appearance ended in heartbreak Sunday before they even stepped on the court for their final match at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium at the World Olympic Qualification Tournament.
Australia walloped China 25-12, 25-20, 25-13 before Japan was to take on Iran later in the day, improving to an insurmountable 15 points and locking down an Olympic berth as the best Asian team while finishing in second place.
Demoralized but in the same boat as Iran, Japan later lost 25-22, 35-33, 25-22 to the Gulf nation, falling to a 4-3 record on 11 points and finished in fourth. Iran closed with a 5-2 mark on 14 points, good enough for third.
Serbia, which had already secured first place for a ticket to this summer’s London Games, improved to 7-0 after a 25-14, 25-13, 25-23 drubbing of Venezuela.