Russia, Cuba, Brazil through to semifinals
Greece, August 24, 2004 – World Cup title holders China,
world number six Russia, defending champions Cuba and
World Grand Prix title holders Brazil all reached the
semifinals of the 2004 Olympic Games women’s Volleyball
competition after quarterfinal victories on Tuesday.
All three medalists from Sydney 2000 have reached the
semifinals while China are guaranteed to improve upon
their fifth-place finish four years ago. The semifinal
action on Thursday begins at 19:30 with Brazil taking on
Russia followed by Cuba playing China at 21:30.
In the last match on Tuesday in the Peace and Friendship
Stadium, Sydney bronze medalists Brazil pulled off a
brilliant five set (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-27, 15-6)
victory over world number one USA to seal the last
quarterfinal spot. It was a classy display from the
world number two as they watched USA fight back from two
sets down to level before clinching the tiebreaker
Earlier, Cuba kept their “four-peat” chances alive with
a breathtaking five set marathon with Italy. After
nearly two hours of exquisite Volleyball, Cuba
eventually triumphed 3-2 (25-23, 14-25, 22-25, 25-14,
15-12) to keep their hopes alive of winning their fourth
successive women’s Olympic Volleyball gold.
"We knew that the match would be difficult because Italy
is one of the strongest teams of the tournament,” Cuba’s
Rosir Calderon Diaz said. “Now, we move on and I am sure
that we will be one of the teams which will win a medal."
“It was obviously very disappointing for us to lose
today,” Italian coach Marco Bonitta said. Nevertheless,
they deserved to win. Today, it was more a victory for
Cuba and less a defeat for Italy."
The first game of the day saw China show their class and
prove that they are also one of the favourites for gold
after beating Japan 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-20). "We had
six matches against Japan this year and this was the
hardest to win,” China coach Zhonghe Chen said.
Meanwhile, Russia also looked in ominous form following
a straight sets (25-17, 25-15, 25-22) win over Korea.
The quarterfinals of the men’s competition begin on
Wednesday with a repeat of the 2000 final at 14:00 when
defending champions Serbia and Montenegro play Russia,
followed by Argentina playing Italy at 16:00. The
evening matches see Greece take on USA at 19:30 before
Poland play world champions Brazil at 21:30.
Volleyball providing another great experience
Greece, August 24, 2004 – Volleyball at the Olympics
gathers all the qualities of team sport - participation,
discipline and the Olympic spirit making for a
magnificent experience for all concerned.
The 28th Olympiad in Athens has welcomed teams from
right around the world bringing together different
playing styles, cultures and personalities. These
elements are part of the special mix that makes the
Olympics such a challenging yet spectacular event to
participate in. Pic: Kenya captain Violet Barasa
said the level of games are higher compared to Sydney
The 20-year-old wing spiker from Japan Kama Oyama is
competing in her first Olympic Games and is enjoying
every minutes of it. “I am very happy because a lot of
Japanese spectators have made the effort to come here
and support us,” she said. “The Greek spectators are
also very supportive, which is great because the level
of play here is very high.”
For Kenya, this is only the second time they have
competed in the Olympics after they finished 11th in
2000 and once again it is a learning experience. For
captain Violet Barasa, 29, it is like a homecoming for
her. “The Olympics and especially Volleyball are very
well organized and I am very happy to be here. Compared
to Sydney the level of the games is higher,” she said.
“I used to play for a Greek team as well and I lived in
Athens so I am very glad to be here competing.”
But for the Dominican Republic this is their first
Olympic Games experience. “The level and quality of the
organization are high which makes it very popular,”
28-year-old Cabrera Francia Jackson said. “People who
came to watch the matches and especially Greeks are
wonderful. Furthermore woman’s Volleyball is popular
here and the games are very competitive, just like Grand
The women’s competition has reached the quarterfinal
stage today where Japan play China in the first match at
14:00. Russia play Korea in the match following at 16:00
before Italy play Cuba at 19:30 and world number one USA
take on world number two Brazil at 21:30.
Russia’s Gamova leads player rankings
23 August – Ekaterina GAMOVA of Russia is the most
dominant player of the women’s tournament so far
according to the Player Rankings by Skills.
Every player in the competition has been ranked
according to their individual skills and at the end of
the Preliminary Round and GAMOVA is one of two Russians
who lead the Best Scorer ranking. The 23-year-old Gamova,
with 115 points at an average of 23 per match, leads her
teammate Lioubov Shashkova who has 96 points. USA’s
Logan Tom is third with 90 points.
Testament to her awesome all round skill GAMOVA also
heads the top blocker rankings with 22 kill-blocks in
total at an average of 1.16 per set. Korean CHANG So Yun
and Germany’s Christiane FURST and Olessya KULAKOVA
follow with 16, 14 and 14 blocks respectively.
Cuba’s Zoila BARROS FERNANDEZ leads the serving ranking
with 16 aces at an average of 0.76 per set, followed by
China’s WANG Lina (10 aces at an average of 0.56 per
set) and Hao YANG (seven aces at an average of .39).
BARROS FERNANDEZ’s teammate Yaima ORTIZ CHARRO is the
most efficient spiker with 46.27% success rate followed
by China's ZHANG Ping and LIU Yanan follow with 44.21%
and 43.59% respectively.
KIM Sa Nee of Korea is the best setter with an average
of 8.63 sets per set, while Japan’s Ikumi NARITA is the
best receiver with a percentage of 77.67%. Arlene XAVIER
of Brazil ranks first on the table of best diggers with
3.41 per set.