Iran eased past Hong Kong in straight sets in its opening game at the 2021 Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Japan.
Behrouz Ataei’s new-look side routed the East Asian side 25-12 in the first set before rounding off the victory with 25-18 and 25-19 triumphs in the next two sets.
The defending champion takes on Thailand on Monday before squaring off against Pakistan on the final round of the games in Pool B on Tuesday.
The event is considered as the beginning of a new era for the three-time Asian champion, which sees a first Iranian head coach on the bench in 11 years, following back-to-back frustrating campaigns in the previous four months.
Under former Russian head coach Vladimir Alenko, the Asian powerhouse finished 12th in the 16-team table of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in Italy in June, before failing to progress beyond the group phase at the Tokyo Olympics in early August.
Ataei, who led Iran to a memorable world under-21 title in 2019, has only picked five members – Milad Ebadipour, Meisam Salehi, Ali-Asghar Mojarrad, Saber Kazemi, and Javad Karimi – of the squad at the Olympics for the event in Japan.