Volleyball drama: Japan labeled ‘cheaters’ as victory over Thailand causes world outrage

Volleyball fans all over the world have spammed and left angry messages at the International Volleyball Federation’s Facebook page over the seemingly “unfair” victory of the host Japan over the Thai team yesterday.

In a five-set thriller that lasted three hours, the Thai players lost to the Japanese 3-2 in the Olympic final volleyball qualifying match yesterday at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Thailand secured the first set, but the drama started in the second set when the tablet that was supposed to send the Thai team’s player swap request to the referee malfunctioned.

The Thai players protested and were penalized with two red cards as an intention to deploy the match, leaving the team distracted for the rest of the game.

The tablet didn’t work for the second time when the Thai assistant coach carrying it, Nattapon Srisamutnar, requested a challenge in the last set.

“I just wondered what happened with the tablet controlled by officials, mainly the Japanese,” Nattaporn told The Nation.

The Thai players left the stadium in tears as their chance to enter the Olympics was snatched.

Thailand coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai was furious over the red cards, saying he doesn’t even know why he received them.

“This is a first for me, and I’ve been in this game for 20 years,” he told Japan Times. “I have no idea what the referee was thinking. I wasn’t rude to him at all. I just asked him questions about the tablets we use for the substitutions.

“It’s incredibly unfair. I ask the referee questions and we get penalized. But the match is over now and all we can do is accept it.”

Thousands of social media users, not only Thais, took their outrage to Facebook and Twitter sending #volleyballolympics2016 the most popular hashtag on Twitter.

Many users called out the hosts for cheating.

Several Facebook users also changed their profile pictures to mock the Japanese flag to express their outrage at the match’s result.  

 

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