Men’s World Grand Champions Cup sparks volleyball fever in Kyoto
Elite volleyball is returning to Kyoto 24 years after the city played host to an international competition for the last time and therefore the local citizens are very excited and can’t wait for the Grand Champions Cup to get underway on Tuesday as Russia and Italy open the programme at noon for a remake of the this year’s European Championship final match.
“We are very happy to be here and to get to know that an international competition is taking place in Kyoto after so many years,” said Control Committee President and FIVB 2nd Executive Vice-President André Meyer. “We know that the local staff is nevertheless very professional and that they have devoted much energy to their preparations for this event. We are ready to support your work and want to closely cooperate with all of you so as to turn this competition and its opening round here in Kyoto into a major success” Mr. Meyer stated while addressing the members of the Local Operations Committee at the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel on Sunday morning. Mr. Meyer introduced all members of the Control Committee before some details about the preparations were shared by Event Director and FIVB Executive Vice-President Aleksandar Boricic.
After welcoming all officials, international referees and participating teams, Japan Volleyball Association (JVA) President Dr. Yuichiro Hamu added: “As you all know, Kyoto was our capital before the imperial court moved to Tokyo more than 100 years ago. Kyoto is also a city which is literally fond of volleyball and the local Organizing Committee has been working very hard so as to welcome this competition. Yesterday our women’s national team beat Dominican Republic to make sure they will get a medal at the end of their tournament. I hope this is a very good omen also for the start of the men’s competition that will get underway here in Kyoto on Tuesday.”
Dr. Hamu also recalled the importance of the World Grand Champions Cup as Japan is gradually getting ready to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo: “Last September 7 the International Olympic Committee decided to award the organization of the 2020 Olympics to our country and namely to our capital city. We would really like to thank FIVB as well as the world’s volleyball community for their support because they really helped us convince the Olympic family that our country was ready and deserved to host the Olympics. The sixth edition of the World Grand Champions Cup is an excellent opportunity for us to build on the general excitement generated by the announcement that Japan will host the Games of the XXXII Olympiad.”
The six participating teams are all set to make it to Kyoto on Sunday. Apart from hosts Japan, four Continental champions – Russia (Europe), Brazil (South America), USA (NORCECA), and Iran (Asia) – are all set to compete from November 19 through 24 together with vice European champions Italy who received the wild-card assigned by FIVB/JVA and host broadcaster NTV. The competition will get underway on Tuesday at the Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium with Russia playing Italy, Iran taking on Brazil and Team Japan testing the likes of USA.
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