Japan, 13 November, 2001 – Nothing but the
trophy of the 2001 Grand Champions Cup will satisfy
Russia’s legendary coach Nikolai Karpol.
goal is to win every title we compete for no matter what
competition it is, or what competition format is
used,” said Karpol at Monday evenings opening press
has led the Russian women’s team for 18 years, since
1979, and has two Olympic gold medals and a World
Championship title to his credit. He was also awarded
Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1991.
Russian team, which features almost the same lineup as
the team that won the silver medal at the Sydney 2000
Olympic Games last year, is the oldest and most
experienced in a field full of new blood in the
six-team, US$2 million event, which starts Tuesday.
to the out-spoken, ambitious Russian, most of his
counterparts were more reserved in stating their goals
in the single round-robin tournament.
that opens the tournament against Russia, will use the
tournament to further blood to its fresh squad.
of our Olympians have left the national team after the
Sydney Olympics. I’m looking forward to some good
results from this vigorous squad,” said Chinese head
coach Chen Zhonghe.
and Qiu Aihua, who formed the backbone of China’s
attacking force in the Olympics, are playing in the
Italian professional league. Chen believes the newly
enrolled players, like Yang Hao, Zhang Jing and Zhao
Ruirui are better than their predecessors.
cut the old members off the national team in order to
give the youth more chances in international
competitions. My goal is not for here and now, but for
the future,” said Chen, who led the team to a Grand
Prix second-placed finish and the Asian Cup title after
he took the reigns earlier of the year.
the Chinese focusing on exercising its future goal,
another title favorite, the United States, seem to put
up the best challenge to the defending champion Russia.
born USA head coach Toshiaki Yoshida led the Americans
to a surprising surge-up this year when they won the
Grand Prix and NORCECA Championship back-to-back after
dozens of years drought of gold medals in tournaments.
year 2001 seems a good year to the U.S. team. I hope we
can carry on and keep our pace throughout the future,”
Yoshida said. “We’ll
do our best in the Grand Champions Cup.”
two years service for the U.S. team as assistant coach,
then head coach after the Sydney Games, Yoshida has
successfully incorporated some Asian-style skills into
the typically power-style of the Americans.
Scott, Player of the Tournament in the Grand Prix, said,
“Usually we were block and hitting team, and now coach
Yoshida help us to focus onto defense and back line
attack. We’ve made a lot improvement on the defense
and second-chance attacks.”
also has the ability to capture the title and US$300,000
first prize. But, even as the South American champions
and Olympic bronze medallists, new head coach Marco
Aurello Motta was not optimistic.
didn’t have any good results this year. This is only
my first year with the team, so I hope we could do
better and better gradually,” Motta said.
head coach Masahiro Yoshikawa was also cautious of
predictions, particularly against Japan’s first
not going to say what we could do in the tournament, but
we will bring the best we have against Brazil,” he
card South Korea was just happy to be at the year-ending
event. “To play the tournament as a wild card is a
honor to our team,” said head coach Kim Cheol-yong.
“We had many changes in the squad and I hope we will
get some good results here.”
a small city at the northwest of Tokyo, will hold the
first two rounds at its biggest stadium, the Saitama
Super Arena, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Arena, which staged NFL and NBA matches after it was
constructed last September, had the maximum capacity of
37,000 and had had a total of 1,700,000 spectators over
the competitions will be held in Fukuoka on Friday 16 to
Sunday 18, November.
men’s event will start on next Tuesday, 20 November in
and Olympic champion Yugoslavia is one of the six
participants, together with Japan, South Korea, Cuba,
Brazil and Argentina.
Shan Lei, Xinhua News Agency
Japan, 13 November, 2001 - Japan, China and
Korea made Tuesday a Day of Asia as the trio pocketed as
many stunning victories on the opening day of the 2001
World Grand Champions Cup.
the wild card Korea that was the star team of the day,
as it produced the biggest upset by crushing the title
favorite United States 3-1 at the opening match.
promising sensation China took its revenge of the
reigning champion Russia 3-1 in the following match,
while Japan wrapped up the first-day matches by
embarrassing the South American champion Brazil in
straight sets in the Saitama Super Arena.
head coach Kim Cheol-yong was overwhelmed with happiness
by his team’s defeat of the 2001 World Grand Prix
champion. "I'm very happy to win the first match of
this tournament. I formed the team only two weeks before
and enrolled many young players. I believe my players have gained confidence from this
win," Kim saiD.
from the very beginning of the match that Korea set the
pace that steered then to the 3-1 (25-18, 25-21, 19-25,
Koreans managed to turn a series of errors of its rival
into winning points as it scored 33 points on errors,
compared to 17 from the U.S..
"I'm proud of competing in the tournament as wild
card," captain Choi Kwang-hee said.
"The whole team was confident that we could
win the match, and it worked well."
head coach, Japanese Yoshida Toshiaki, said his squad
lacked their normal cohesiveness.
of my players only joined the team on November 6 and 7,
and one came straight back from the Italian league. We
didn't have enough time to train together.
missed some big points down the stretch, and that was
the worst thing in a match. The Korean team played
really well," he added.
we'll face another strong team in China. It will be very
hard to win," Toshiaki said.
second match, China faced the imposing sight of
Artamonova, Godina and 24-year-old 201cm Ekaterina
Gomova - the tallest front line in the world of
women’s volleyball averaging 196cm.
even facing this Russian wall – and a squad with 186
world and Olympic Games match appearances under its
belt, the fearless Chinese, that have not one world
championship or Olympic Games appearance in its squad,
played with the heart of a lion and way above their
years to defeat the European Champions in one of the
best matches of the year 3-1 (33-35, 25-21, 25-19,
the Olympic silver medallist in Sydney last year, almost
forced the match into a decisive fifth set as it rallied
four points to tie it at 24-24 in the fourth.
But China maintained its composure to take the
set, 27-25, and the game as consequence.
lost to Russia twice this year by 3-1 and 3-0
respectively, so it's so nice to beat them this
time," said Chinese head coach Chen Zhonghe.
players did well on creating pressure on attack though
we are much smaller than them. This is the reason why we
could make a great win today," Chen added.
head coach Nikolai Karpol said he didn't know what
happened on the attacks, which helped Russia take the
didn't play well after the first set, and I cannot say
what the problem is. We'll find out the reason
afterwards," he said.
led all the way from the start to the claim one of its
biggest victories in the world level competitions when
it beat-up Brazil completely on every aspect of the
coach Masahiro Yoshikawa said, "My team had one of
the best games ever. The players had given their best
and we got the key points on the right time, so we won
coach Marco Aurelio Motta described the loss as a
disaster. "We didn't play as we usually do tonight
as we missed a couple of servers and had a big problem
on blocks. My players didn't play well.
They could not catch up with Japan's fast
team outside Asia could stand for another loss in the
single round-robin tournament when the U.S. face China
and Russia meets Brazil on Wednesday.
Japan will take on Korea in the evening.
Shan Lei, Xinhua News Agency
TO DAY TWO