September 4, 2003 - The FIVB Women's U20 World Volleyball Championship in Thailand is
all set for a fantastic showdown with all the participating teams, except
former two-time World Champions Cuba, arriving in town on Thursday, ready to
strut their stuff in the nine-day spectacle.
Shanrit Wongprasert, foreign affairs chairman of the Thailand Volleyball
Association, reveiled that the Cuban team missed their flight to Thailand due to a mishap with one of their officials who held all the travel documents.
"It is possible that Cuba could not arrive in Suphan Buri in time before
the start of the preliminaries on Saturday," Wongpraset said. "Still, they have a slim chance to arrive
"The organisers have expressed their grave concerns on the problem
because if Cuba could not participate in the world meet, we will have to reschedule
A decision from the organising committee on Cuba's attendance will be made before the start of the
Meanwhile, the opening ceremony will take place on Saturday at the
4,000-seater Silapa-archa Gymnasium, followed by the curtain-raiser between Venezuela
and the Netherlands. At the same time Ukraine will take on China at the
2,000-seater Chaopha Hall, just a 10-minute walk from the first
The 16 participating teams comprise African champions Algeria,
Venezuela, the Netherlands and hosts Thailand in Group A, while Group B consists of
North American champions Puerto Rico, Belarus, Russia and South Korea.
Ukraine, Germany, Taiwan and Asian champions China are in Group C, with
European winners Poland, reigning World Champions Brazil, Cuba and
Turkey in Group D.
The group round-robin preliminaries will be held from September 6 to 8,
with teams finishing fourth in each group initially bowing out from the
Brazil arrived in Thailand as serious contenders to win another world
crown due to the fact that they have retained the nucleus of the side which
won the silver medal at the 2001 World Girls' Youth Under-18 Championship in
Croatia and have gained valuable experience in the Pan American Games.
Regarding the Chinese squad, nine out of their 12 players participated
in the last year's Asian Championship in Vietnam where they captured the
title by powering past Thailand in the showdown. China's successful title
defence at the World Girls' Youth Under-18 Championship in Poland last month
illustrates the amazing talent coming through the age groups in China. It
seems that the main task of this team is to foster young and talented players
targeting the 2008 Olympic Games on their home soil.