Lausanne, Switzerland, 24 June 2005 - The World Grand Prix is a prestigious, world-class competition that each year brings together 12 of volleyball's top women's teams. The feminine grace, emotion, and outstanding technique of the players make this a thrilling contest! This year again, as in 2004, a large part of the tournament is taking place in Asia, starting today and running through 18 July. Four weeks of fierce struggle with a suspenseful outcome guaranteed. A telling figure: last year, the World Grand Prix was broadcast in 195 countries by more than 20 television networks.
In 2003, for the first time in its history, the World Grand Prix had to be moved to Europe because of the SARS epidemic. That year Italy did an admirable job of hosting the preliminary round and the final round. And no one has forgotten last year's fantastic final in which Brazil triumphed over Italy in Reggio Calabria! This year, this city will be hosting the Group B competition.
For the preliminary rounds, the twelve teams are divided into three pools. Japan, Brazil, Korea and Poland will compete in Group A in Tokyo. Italy, Cuba, Germany, and the Dominican Republic will contend in Group B in Reggio Calabria. And finally China, the Netherlands, the United States and Thailand will battle it out in Ningbo, China. The final of the World Grand Prix will take place in Sendai, Japan, from 13 to 18 July. But before they reach Sendai, the athletes will have played in preliminary rounds in Macau, Seoul, Manila, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Taiwan…
"The 2005 World Grand Prix is a competition that is particularly important to me," said FIVB President Dr. Rubén Acosta. "First because Women's Volleyball is gaining popularity each year and winning over fans and media alike. But also because the 2005 World Grand Prix is an opportunity for the athletes and their entourage to enter a preparatory phase with a view to the World Championship Final, next year in Japan. A good number of the teams competing this year will doubtless be back in November 2006!"
Today, the World Grand Prix kicks off with the following matches: Brazil-Korea, USA-Netherlands, Japan-Poland, China-Thailand, Cuba-Germany and Italy-Dominican Republic. More detailed information can be found on our website.