AVC Set Up the Scheme for Women’s Cup in Technical Meeting
Asian powerhouses China will kick off their title defence campaign against Korea and Japan will test their mettle against Kazakhstan in the pool round-robin preliminaries in tough Pool B at the “SMM” 2016 AVC Cup for Women at the Vinh Phuc Gymnasium here on Wednesday.
China have been regarded as the red-hot favourites to win the 5th episode of the tournament as they are very strong with the likes of Zhang Changning and Gong Xiangyu, both of them joined the gold-winning Chinese squad at the last month’s Rio Olympic Games in Brazil.
Strengthening the Chinese team are the highly-experienced players who contested the FIVB World Grand Prix, the FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship and the 2015 Asian Senior Women’s Championship. They included Chen Liyi, Liu Xiaotong, Zhang Xiaoya, Li Jing, Wang Weiyi, Sun Haiping, Wang Yuanyuan, Yao Di and Yang Zhou.
The star-studded Chinese team have been drawn in Pool B with Kazakhstan, Korea and Japan, while Pool B features Iran, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and hosts Vietnam. All participating teams finished among top eight at the last year’s Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Tianjin, China which all were eligible to contest the 5th AVC Cup for Women, which will take place from September 14 to 20 in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam.
The participating teams will compete in the pool round-robin preliminaries from September 14 to 16 and the teams will be classified to respective rankings after completion of their pool plays. September 17 will be the rest day, while the knockout quarter-finals will be held the following day, with Pool A winners taking on Pool B fourth place and Pool A second place playing Pool B third place to determine the four winning teams in the semi-finals. The finals will take place on Tuesday, September 20.
All teams have already arrived in town, ready for the kickoff of the top-flight competition on Wednesday. Japan, fielding a young team to gain experience and exposure, have their sights firmly set on clearing their first hurdle successfully in their opening match against Kazakhstan, many of them played in the team which finished fourth place at the recent Philippines-hosted Asian Women’s Club Championship.
Chinese Taipei, which are playing without their regular captain Chen Wang-Ting as the left-hander underwent her left-shoulder injury, are due to play Thailand, powered by superstar spiker Pleumjit Thinkaow, Wilavan Apinyapong, Ajcharaporn Kongyot, Thatdao Nuekjang and Malika Kanthong.
The third match of the opening day is likely to be a clash of the Titans when title-holders China are due to take on Korea. However, China are tipped to topple the rivals as Korea are sending a young team this time aimed for a more promising future at the Tokyo 2020.
The match will then be followed by the opening ceremony ahead of the curtain-raisers between hosts Vietnam and Iran.
Meanwhile, all is set for the tournament as the organising committee have already completed their preparation tasks on Tuesday. The Control Committee, chaired by AVC’s secretary-general Mr Shanrit Wongprasert, made a final inspection to the competition and training venues and found that there is no problem and things have been put in the right place.
The referee clinic (theory) was held in the meeting room at Dam Vac Hotel, with the practical part taking place at the competition hall. The General Technical Meeting was held at the Teams Hotel at Song Hong Thu Do, followed by the welcome dinner out there.
Since the biennial tournament’s inception in 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, China have captured the prestigious AVC Cup for three times in 2008, 2010 and 2014. Thailand claimed the remaining in 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
In the previous edition in Shenzhen two years ago, China delighted their home crowd with the convincing straight-set win over Korea in the final showdown to capture their third AVC Cup. Kazakhstan narrowly edged out Japan 3-2 in the third-place playoff. Thailand outclassed Chinese Taipei to claim the fifth place, while the seventh place went to Iran following a straight-set win over Vietnam.
DRAW OF LOTS
1. Iran; 2. Chinese Taipei; 3. Thailand; 4. Vietnam
1. Kazakhstan; 2. Korea; 3. China; 4. Japan
POOL ROUND-ROBIN PRELIMINARIES
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
12pm: Kazakhstan v Japan
2.30pm: Chinese Taipei v Thailand
5pm: Korea v China
7.30pm: Opening Ceremony
8.30pm: Vietnam v Iran
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
12pm: Kazakhstan v Korea
2.30pm: Iran v Chinese Taipei
6pm: Japan v China
8.30pm: Vietnam v Thailand
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
12pm: Korea v Japan
2.30pm: Thailand v Iran
6pm: China v Kazakhstan
8.30pm: Chinese Taipei v Vietnam
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17