PRESS RELEASE 29.09.2003


World Cup Countdown - Four more teams qualify; only two places and wild cards up for grabs

September 29, 2003 - Four more teams booked their places for the World Cups in November when the Asian and European Women's Championships concluded over the weekend, with China, Korea, Poland and Turkey in for the women's tournament of this important first Olympic qualifier.

Although they were third at the Asian Women's Championship, Korea qualified by default as Japan, the silver medalist is - as host - an automatic qualifier.

The completion of the Norceca Men's Championship later this week will fill two more slots, leaving only the two wild cards for each tournament to be announced.

The World Cup takes place in various Japanese cities during the month of September with the women's tournament in the first half of the month and the men's event in the second two weeks.

On Saturday, Korea finished third behind China and Japan in the Asian Women's Championship after beating Thailand in the playoff for third 3-1 (23-25, 25-12, 25-12, 25-14). Japan's automatic qualification allowed Korea the chance to maintain their unbroken attendance. They have played in every event in all eight editions of this important FIVB competition.

China proved too strong for Japan and claimed the gold medal in straight sets 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-15) displaying the form, which has them as one of the favorites. The top three teams automatically qualify for the 2004 Olympic tournament.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Poland will be making their World Cup debuts after they reached the European Women's Continental Championship final on Sunday. Poland claimed the Continental title after beating hosts Turkey, who are ranked 44th in the world, 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-17) in an exhibition of power and precision.

The Men's World Cup will have 10 of its 12 participants confirmed later Monday when the finalists at the NORCECA Men's Continental Championship (between USA, Cuba, Canada and Mexico) will be decided. This leaves only the selection of the two wild cards for both the men and women, which is a joint decision between the Japanese Volleyball Association and the FIVB. An announcement is expected soon.

Teams confirmed so far for the Women's World Cup include: Japan as hosts with Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, USA, Cuba, China, Korea, Turkey and Poland. For the Men's World Cup: Japan as hosts with Korea, China, Italy, France, Brazil, Venezuela and Tunisia.

The drawing of lots is scheduled for October 3 in Tokyo.