Gdansk to unveil gripping competition in Pool C
Gdansk, Poland, August 31, 2014 – Following the historic and extravagant opening of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Warsaw, the distinct Polish city of Gdansk gears up for teams Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, Mexico and Russia, for the first round of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship.
“After the successful opening last night in Warsaw, the whole of Poland have grown more eager to experience more exciting things at the World Championship,” Event Director Wojciech Czayka said. “We are preparing well for the matches at the Ergo Arena and we would like everyone to experience the best in volleyball. I want to wish all the teams good luck to this spectacular volleyball event.”
The highly modern competition hall Ergo Arena, which also hosted the FIVB Volleyball World League Finals in 2011, will be the centre of action in Pool C from September 1 to 9.
On Monday, September 1, Russia put their wares to the test against Canada in the opening match, followed by a showdown between Mexico and Bulgaria. China and Egypt will play the last match to complete the order of matches in Pool C opening day.
Reigning Olympic champions Russia head into the World Championship to lead the cast of teams, who are all seeking for a title in the biggest and most prestigious men’s volleyball competition.
After his stellar, gold-winning performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the name Dmitriy Muserkiy has been associated with the Russian triumphs in the last three years. His sure-fire performance will definitely put Russia on top of the teams to beat in the volleyball quadrennial and a sure favourite in Pool C.
“We do not want to say we are the top favourites as the teams are also at their top level, we are just excited to be here and play our game,” Russian captain Sergey Makarov said. “We are very glad that we are in Gdansk because it has been a lucky home for my team when we won the FIVB Volleyball World League in 2011. I think that it is a great place to be, not only in the city of Gdansk but to be in Poland in general.”
“In some way, as our team is being regarded as favourites in this Pool, the other teams have been also focusing and preparing for us” coach Andrey Voronkov added. “Nonetheless, being the favourites, we have to play our best and always be on top of our game. Our team should give the utmost concentration on both our physical and mental strengths to be able to play at a high level.”
There are also likely changes in the line-up of the Russian squad because of the injuries of their key players.
“In volleyball and in any other sport, there are many changes,” coach Voronkov explained. “Our players encountered some injuries and we had to make some changes in the team. Although these changes need to be made, we still need to give our best effort to play well in the competition.”
Bulgaria will also make its mark being one of the most consistent teams to compete in the tournament, relying on their fast-rising star Tsvetan Sokolov to power their offence. The European squad have reached the podium five times spanning five different decades – their latest being a bronze medal they earned in 2006.
Former player Plamen Konstantinov takes on a new role in the team, this time manning the sidelines of the Bulgarian squad.
“It feels very special to come back to Poland because I had a very nice moment in the Polish League as a player, and now return to the country as a coach,” Konstantinov said. “This is my first official competition as a coach and it would be nice to get a good result, and that my team will stay until the end.”
Meanwhile, the four other teams will make their stints worthwhile and will pose big challenges to the more experienced Russia and Bulgaria.
Canada will be aiming to improve on their ninth place finish in Greece in 1994, banking on their strong sweep at the qualification tournament beating Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Panama. One of the match-ups in Pool C that are being anticipated is with their NORCECA neighbours Mexico.
“We often meet with Mexico in competitions but we consider these matches to be different every time,” Canada coach Glenn Hoag said. “We are in a difficult pool with five special teams, we just need to play and enjoy the tournament.”
China, with its new generation of players, are pushing for its first international medal. After 12 previous appearances in the World Championship, the Asian side are seeking to improve their seventh place finish they achieved in Italy and Argentina in 1978 and 1982, respectively.
China coach Xie Guochen is confident of their preparations for the World Championship.
“China are ready for this Championship and our goal is to qualify to the next round,” said coach Xie. “My team has been preparing hard for this competition and we will work even harder to achieve this goal. “
As the winners of the last five African Championships, Egypt have established themselves as a powerhouse team in the region. Egypt will likely count on their rich volleyball roots to establish their ground and make a big upset in the first round.
The Egyptian side have also been training earlier with a local club in Gdansk and counts on this advantage to cruise through the next round.
“Since we arrived earlier in Gdansk for some friendly matches with the local club to prepare for this competition,” Egypt coach I.F. Ibrahim Mohamed commented. “It has been quite strenuous for my team but hopefully this will help us become better in the competition.”
Mexico, on the other hand, are still breaking through the men’s volleyball scene, with only their fifth appearance in the World Championship. With their recent conquests in the World League, the team shows a promising and bracing outlook on the unique variety of teams in Gdansk.
“It is very nice for my team to be able to participate in back-to-back World Championships,” Mexico captain Sergio Guerra said. “For us, that is already a great achievement. We are ready for the challenge to qualify. We will do our best in this challenge to qualify and we will do our best to play well and win two matches. We want to bring the best in our level and I cannot wait for the World Championship to begin.”
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