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Reggio Calabria ready to build on 2004 experience

June 22, 2005 – With two days to go before the opening of the 2005 World Grand Prix, the mayor of Reggio Calabria, where hosts Italy, Cuba, Germany and the Dominican Republic will play in the first round, says he wants a repeat of last year when the World Grand Prix final round in Palacalafiore was packed full with local fans supporting the best of women’s international Volleyball.

Mayor Guiseppe Scopelliti said that Reggio Calabria is very happy to host the World Grand Prix after the good experience of 2004. “Reggio is going to become the sport centre of the Mediterranean sea,” he said. “And we want to repeat the result of 2004, with the Palacalafiore full of people.”
Pic: Mimmo Pratico, Giorgio Merlassino, Reggio Calabria mayor Guiseppe Scopelliti (third from left) with Italian coach Marco Bonitta (second from right) and Italian captain Antonella Del Core (far right).

Teams have been arriving during the week and Italian coach Marco Bonitta said that he had never had such a beautiful welcome like the one he received when the mayor was at the airport to receive the team. “Thanks to the warmth of the public, I hope that the World Grand Prix opening round in Reggio Calabria will be a good incentive for my side to reach the Final Round,” Bonitta said.

Olympic bronze medallists Cuba are expected to dominate the opening round in Italy but Italian captain Antonella Del Core warned that last year’s runner’s up should not be written off. “Italy is a young but yet still a very good team and it will be worth the effort to follow us, because you could be in for some nice surprises.”

All four teams - Italy, Cuba, Germany and the Dominican Republic - will play each other once over the three days in Reggio Calabria before moving on to Round Two.

The other action on the first weekend of the Preliminary Round sees Japan, Brazil, Korea and Poland play in Tokyo, Japan; while China, Netherlands, USA and Thailand will play in Ningbo, China.

After three weeks of Preliminary Round action, the top six teams will enter the Final Round in Japan to play for the honour of 2005 World Grand Prix champion.