Lausanne, Switzerland, October 24, 2013 – Thai coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai has been realistic in his assessment of his team’s chances at winning the World Grand Champions Cup, citing a lack of preparation time.
Asian champions Thailand will take on wild-card Dominican Republic in the opening match of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup scheduled to take place from November 12 to 17 in Japan.
"Five players, including Onuma Sittirak, Nootsara Tomkom and Wilavan Apinyapong, are playing in the professional league in Azerbaijan but should join us on November 1,” said Kiattipong.
“The rest of the team are training at Hua Mark where the emphasis is on physical fitness. That means they have to undergo more weight training. We have included some new and young players for the training camp, but for the World Grand Champions Cup campaign we will send the full-strength team that won the Asian meet in Nakhon Ratchasima last month."
Whatever the outcome, the Thai coach is confident that the competition will offer valuable experience for his players. "We will have just one month for preparation, [but] the five in Azerbaijan will only be able to train with us for one week. Due to the shortage of training time I am not expecting my team to win the title. The exposure of playing against good teams will help, but I am not setting any target. Just keep your fingers crossed, my players will do their best in every match," Kiattipong said.
Thailand qualified for the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup when they won the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship for a second consecutive time in September. As well as Thailand's clash with the Dominicans, the first day in Nagoya will see World No. 1 Brazil take on well-known opponents, the US while Japan go up against Russia.
The Dominican Republic, who finished third in the 2009 edition of the World Grand Champions Cup, were handed the wild card following their impressive world No 8 ranking and their second-place finish in the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship that took place in Omaha, USA in September.
The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup features a total of six teams per gender with the hosts Japan being joined by the continental winners from Asia (Thailand), Europe (Russia), NORCECA (USA) and South America (Brazil) and the Dominican Republic, who was the wild card entry country, jointly selected by the FIVB, the Japan Volleyball Association (JVA) and the Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTA). Africa do not have an automatic spot in the tournament after finishing the 2012 Olympic Games as the lowest ranked confederation amongst the five.
FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup tournament page
FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup match schedule
FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup tournament page
FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup match schedule
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