Title-holders China handed tough draw in AVC Cup
Defending and three-time champions China have been drawn in the toughest of pools for the 2016 AVC Cup for Women from September 14 to 20 in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam as the World Cup winners will test their mettle against Korea, Japan and Kazakhstan in Pool B.
The draw of lots ceremony for the one-week tournament took place in Ninh Binh on March 27, with Mr Le Tri Truong, general-secretary of Vietnam Volleyball Federation, presiding. Also in attendance as the AVC’s representative was AVC Secretary-General Mr Shanrit Wongprasert, and Miss Nguyen Nhat Thanh, VVF Administration Director.
Drawn in Pool B are world No.2 China, the Asia’s powerhouses which landed the AVC Cup title in 2008, 2010 and 2014. China are assured of starting as the hot favourites to capture the prestigious biennial tournament for the fourth time.
However, serious challenges can be expected from the 2014 Asian Games gold medallists Korea and world No.5 and London Games bronze medallists Japan, both of them have been drawn in the same pool as the Chinese side this time. The tall and towering Kazakhstan can be the other tough rivals to be reckoned with in Pool B.
Meanwhile, hosts Vietnam, the 2012 AVC Cup winners and world No.13 Thailand, world No.32 Chinese Taipei and world No.101 Iran are in Pool A.
The pool round-robin preliminaries will be held over three days from September 14 to 16. Hosts Vietnam will play Iran in the curtain-raisers, followed by the match between Thailand and Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan against Japan and the clash of the Titans between China and Korea in the final showdown rematch of the previous edition in Shanzhen, China two years ago.
September 17 will be the rest day. The competition resumes the following day in the quarter-finals, with Pool A winners taking on Pool B fourth place and Pool B second place facing Pool A third place. The four winning teams advance to the semi-finals, with the losers relegated to the 5th-8th classification.
Only top eight teams at the last year’s Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Tianjin, China received the green light to compete in the AVC Cup for Women in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam, while the top eight sides from the last year’s Asian Senior Men’s Championship in Tehran, Iran were eligible for the AVC Cup for Men, due to be held in India later this year.