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2009 FIVB Men's Grand Champions Cup
Osaka - Nagoya, Japan
18 - 23 November 2009

 Press Release
Cuba’s Roberlandy Simon named FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup MVP

Awards (left to right): Best Libero - Sergio (BRA), Best Scorer - Kunihiro Shimzu (JPN), MVP, Best Blocker and Best Server - Roberlandy Simon (CUB), Best Setter - Bruno (BRA), Best Spiker - Tatsuya Fukuzawa (JPN)

Nagoya, Japan, November 23, 2009 – Cuba captain Roberlandy Simon was awarded the FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 Most Valuable Player award for his key role in seeing the NORCECA champions claim a silver medal at the inter-continental event after Cuba finished with a win loss record of 4-1.

Best Player Statistics

Simon was instrumental in seeing Cuba put in some impressive performances during the week long tournament, as the world number 13 beat Poland, Egypt, Japan and Iran after losing to Brazil on the opening day.

Call it consistency or money in the bank but the bottom line is that Simon was the most reliable player of the 2009 FIVB Men’s Grand Champions Cup and the big Cuban fellow had the numbers to prove it.

Awarded as the top blocker (1.00 per set) and best server (16 aces) of the competition besides being best scorer of his team with 74 points (14.8), Simon also received the trophy as Most Valuable Player during the closing ceremony held at Nippongaishi Hall in Nagoya on Monday.

The 22-year-old native of Havana, considered the glue that holds the pieces together in the Cuban team, assumes his role as captain of the squad with serious responsibility despite his young age.

“Simon is an exceptional athlete, a hard-working player, a great human being and we feel very fortunate to have somebody like him in our team,” said Orlando Samuels, the Cuban coach. “Despite being so young, he is constantly helping his teammates on and off the court and also wants to share his knowledge. He is a leader by example and that is the reason we selected him as captain of our team. He has been the most consistent player of our team and there is no doubt that he is among the best of this tournament.”

Samuels explained it is just a matter of coincidence that the middle blocker of 2.06 meters and 91 kilos of solid muscle is continuing the recent tradition of Cuba having a middle blocker to captain the team. He succeeded Pavel Pimienta, Josvany Hernandez and Raul Vilchez who also played as centres.

“In Cuba, like in many other countries the tradition was to have setters as captains because they are the players who control the game,” said Samuels. “But in the case of those other three players they also happened to have similar qualities as Simon.”

Despite his overall outstanding performance during the FIVB Men’s Grand Champions Cup, Simon is not completely satisfied with it. “I have had a good tournament as a blocker which always has been my strongest points and as a server it has been the best of my life,” he admitted. “But as a spiker I am not that happy because it has not been the best one for me.”

Simon, who debuted in the FIVB World League in the 2005 playing just one game- situation against France, was the best spiker and second best blocker of this year’s edition.
When asked about the reasons for being the Cuban captain, Simon pointed to the same qualities cited by his coach but also self-criticized for his mistakes and sometimes out of control reactions. “I am a very responsible and disciplined guy and also can get along with my teammates very well,” he responded. “It is not easy to deal with a group of young players, myself included, who needs to control emotions and things like that.

“As a player and captain of Team Cuba I want to continue progressing and I think we are going on the right way in this new Olympic cycle,” Simon said.

The last and only time Cuba’s men won an Olympic medal was the 1976 Games in Montreal when they won the bronze. Simon and his teammates surely want to stop the prolonged drought.

The 22-year-old from Havana also received the Best Blocker and Best Server awards and was also Cuba’s top scorer in the tournament (2nd equal overall) with 74 points, 15 behind the leader from Japan Kunihiro Shimizu.

FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup 2009 Award Winners

Roberlandy Simon - Cuba
Born: 11/06/1987
Number of Caps: 11

Best Scorer
Kunihiro Shimizu - Japan
Born: 11/08/1986
Number of caps: 72

Best Spiker
Tatsuya Fukuzawa - Japan
Born: 01/07/1986
Number of caps:53

Best Blocker
Roberlandy Simon - Cuba

Best Server
Roberlandy Simon - Cuba

Best Setter
Bruno - Brazil
Born: 02/07/1986
Number of caps: 32

Best Libero
Sergio – Brazil
Born: 15/10/1975
Number of caps: 147

For more info: Richard Baker - FIVB Deputy Communications Director
Mobile in Japan: +81 (0)80 1311 9988 or press@fivb.org

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