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Teams gear up for World Championship qualifier in Almaty

 
The captains of the teams represented at the Asian Pool A qualifier in Kazakhstan gathered at a press conference on Tuesday
Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 19, 2017 – Coaches of Australia, China, Fiji, Chinese Taipei and hosts Kazakhstan shared their comments in a press conference ahead of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018 Asian Pool A Qualifiers at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace Press Center on Tuesday.

The top two teams from the tournament will join the best two teams from Pool B in Thailand - also taking place from September 20 to 24 - to represent Asia in next year’s World Championship Finals in Japan from September 29 to October 20, 2018.

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Headlining Pool A are Rio 2016 Olympic champions China, but coach An Jiajie is not taking the competition too lightly. “Since we are going to meet different teams, we should be ready to play with each one. We do not know what may happen. We only know that we should do our best,” An said.

China captain Zhu Ting underlined the significance of the qualification tournament and vowed to give her best. “This tournament is a very important event and we are looking for good results to qualify for the World Championship,” Zhu said.

Australia, Chinese Taipei, the host team Kazakhstan, are competing in Pool A after the Asian Championship held in Manila, Philippines in August.


The coaches of the five countries represented in Almaty

Australia coach Shannon Marie Winzer said: “As with the Asian Championship, we are working with a fairly new team. Our two biggest point-scorers from the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix are not here with us today. But it gives the opportunity for some of the newer players and more experienced players to get some international experience and they are pretty excited.

“Our expectation for this competition is to challenge some of the top teams and stick to our game plan to really put pressure on teams through our serve and our block and hopefully we can find some success,” she added.

 
Australia captain Beth Carey said “We are hopefully going to rise to these challenges and put our consistent foot forward.”

Chinese Taipei coach Lin Ming-Hui said: “For this team, we hope that we will do our best in what we know will be a very difficult tournament. We do hope that we can qualify for the World Championship.”

Chinese Taipei captain Chen Wan-Ting said: “We know that the matches here will be very competitive and challenging but we will do our best to claim the ticket to Japan.”

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Kazakhstan coach Vyacheslav Shapran welcomed all the participating teams to the competition, but quickly revealed how the host team are preparing for a tough challenge. “Almaty is hosting such outstanding guest teams. We already played against Australia and Chinese Taipei in the Asian Championship. We are also happy to see Olympic champs China with such an outstanding player, the captain Zhu Ting. We are preparing for this seriously.” Shapran said.

Kazakhstan captain Radmila Beresneva added: “I think every team wants to get their ticket to Japan. I wish all teams good luck so we can all show our best in the matches.”

Fiji are joining their first international competition with much anticipation.

Fiji coach Basilio Kalokalodromu said “We have not been playing so many times but we hope to do well to showcase our volleyball talents. It is an honour to play our first match against the Olympic champions and we hope to compete well.”

Fiji captain Karistiana Ulamila commented “We will be meeting the top teams in Asia including the Olympic champions. The goal is to improve and to learn from these strong teams.”

The AVC Qualification Tournament features a single round-robin format, where the top two teams from Pool A will earn the right to compete in the World Championship in various cities in Japan in 2018.


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