The Czech Republic city of Brno and Mexican cities Tijuana and
Mexicali are set to receive far more attention than usual as they play
host to the FIVB Women’s U20 Volleyball World Championship and
the FIVB Boys’ U19 Volleyball World Championship respectively.
Both tournaments are vital stepping stones in a young player’s
career; where they learn about tournament discipline, how to handle
the unique pressure of tournament volleyball and how to focus
collectively on a team goal.
It all begins at age-group level with the girls’ U18 and boys’ U19
World Championships, progresses through the women’s U20 and
men’s U21 World Championships and finishes with the U23 World
Championships Open for both men and women before players enter
full, senior volleyball.
As FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° explains: “These tournaments
are crucial for the well-being of volleyball today and in the future.
They are seen primarily as a way for players to develop and learn the
skills and discipline needed to become top-level athletes however
they are equally important for the individual cities and federations
concerned as it provides an opportunity to demonstrate their capacity
to organise a tournament and in turn host larger tournaments in the
future.
One of my key goals is to provide more opportunities for players
to play for the benefit of the individual athletes and the long-term
growth of our sport. With all the age-group tournaments now
featuring 20 teams, we can ensure that future FIVB Volleyball World
Championships and the Olympic Games volleyball competitions will
be as exciting and competitive as ever.”
In Brno, defending champions Italy are back to defend the gold
medals they won in surprising fashion against the hitherto dominant
Brazil. The
Azzurre
are one of six European teams, along with their
Czech Republic hosts, but it is Turkey who qualified in the most
impressive style.
They won the 2012 CEV Junior European Championships on home
soil and with them featuring in a pool with Italy, Egypt, Nigeria and
Algeria, their match with the defending champions is likely to decide
who tops the pool.
Brazil meanwhile have been handed a tough pool draw; they feature
alongside USA, Mexico and powerful European opponents, Russia
and Bulgaria.
The Czech Republic lead Pool A, along with the Dominican Republic,
Chinese Taipei, Peru and Puerto Rico, while Pool B pitches Asia’s
two leading sides against one another. China and Japan may try to
dominate, but they are likely to be pushed hard by Serbia, and Thailand
and Colombia are also highly capable of causing them problems.
In the FIVB Boys’ U19 World Championship one thing is guaranteed
and that is that there will be new gold and silver medallists after 2011’s
top pair, Serbia and Spain, failed to qualify.
Russia, who won this year’s European Youth Championship to qualify,
go in as the favourites and feature in a pool with Iran, France, Rwanda
and Finland. Moreover, they will be determined to make amends for a
disappointing 13
th
-
place finish from two years ago.
Cuba, bronze medallists two years ago in Argentina are in a pool with
Chile, Argentina, Japan and Turkey, while Brazil, another team with a
point to prove after they finished ninth in 2011, lead Pool D with USA,
Egypt, Korea and Algeria.
The final pool is led by hosts Mexico, but they won’t have it all their
own way against the leading Asian nation China, African giants Tunisia,
the volleyball-passionate Poland and Belgium.
There will be different FIVB Boys’ U19 champions from last time, after
2011
champions Serbia failed to qualify
Russia’s boys led Europe’s qualifying process after they won the
European Youth Championship
IN FOCUS
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