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Olympic hopefuls back in action

Germany host the European men's continental qualification event in Berlin from January 5 to 10
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 4, 2020 - Christmas and New Year celebrations are different when a place at the Olympics is on the line.

Men's Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification 2020:
Five Olympic vacancies at stake as five continental qualifiers set to begin
Women's Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualfication 2020: 
2020 opens with Olympic qualifying volleyball extravaganza

The holiday period is usually a time when you catch up with friends, spend time with family and forget about counting calories, although that is often very different for professional athletes and volleyball players halfway through their domestic season.

This holiday period has been very different for those preparing to play in the Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournaments starting on Sunday and who have been preparing for their last chance to qualify for a place at Tokyo 2020.

Women's and men's teams from the five Continental Confederations will battle against each other in separate competitions to decide which team will emerge from each continent and claim the final remaining berths at the Games starting in Japan this July.

The full quota of 12 international teams per gender set to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be confirmed by January 12 when the Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournaments are completed.

Germany outside hitter Moritz Reichert:

"Christmas with the family lasted around three days. We had a normal Christmas meal but had to be careful not to eat too many sweets! We started preparing on December 26 and we have had two matches against Australia over the Christmas period to get ready. It's a very exciting competition to play in and you can feel its importance to the players already. You need to play at your top level in every match and it's important that the whole team is working and functioning together. It's hard to describe what Olympic qualification would mean to me as I have never qualified before but it's a big goal for the squad and it would be a dream to be there."

New Netherlands women's coach Giovanni Caprara called up his team for a training camp beginning on December 27. 

"We play three friendly matches against Germany over this period. It's good for me to learn about my players and starting six. We need to arrive in great shape for the tournament."

Germany liberto Julian Zenger in action during the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

Germany libero Julian Zenger

"Over Christmas I was at my parents' home together with my brother. We always make a big Christmas dinner on the 24th of December and open a couple of presents. When it comes to food I don't change my diet over the Christmas period and I eat the same as my family of course. I would like to spend more time with them over the holidays but it's the same every year with me only having a few days off. I visited my grandparents on the 25th but had to be back to training on the 26th, when we prepared for our games against Australia. I am excited to be a part of this team and going to the Olympic Games is a big dream and to have the chance to qualify is exciting. There are four or five teams in this tournament which are at the same level. So you have to be at 110 per cent in these two matches to get the wins and get the ticket to the Games."

Australian libero Luke Perry

"During the prep camp in Poland we had gym sessions followed by regular two-hour court sessions in the afternoon. Due to such a short time being together and adapting back to our Volleyroos' way and our style of play we have been touching the ball a lot and playing a lot. We then drove to Germany and played two friendly matches against a strong German team who are looking to do the same as us and qualify for the Olympics - but through Europe. It was nice to be back in Berlin where I played two years and had a lot of success with my teammates there winning two championships and making the final four of the European Champions League. 

"We fly to China where we will again adapt to a different timezone, weather, culture and really lock into our first game against Korea, getting our bodies right, recovering as well as possible and getting the right amount of sleep."

Luke Perry keeps the ball in play for Australia

Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification schedule

? Africa (January 5-9 in Yaounde, Cameroon): Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria.
? Europe (January 7-12 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands): Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey.
? Asia (January 7-12 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand): Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Korea, Thailand.
? South America (January 7-9 in Bogota, Colombia): Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela.
? North, Central America and Caribbean (January 10-12 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic): Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico.

? Europe (January 5-10 in Berlin, Germany): Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Netherlands, Slovenia, Serbia.
? Africa (January 7-11 in Cairo, Egypt): Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Tunisia.
? Asia (January 7-12 in Jiangmen, China): Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Korea, Qatar.
? South America (January 10-12 in Santiago, Chile): Chile, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela.
? North, Central America and Caribbean (January 10-12 in Vancouver, Canada): Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico.

Quick links - Volleyball:
Continental Tokyo Volleyball Qualification 2020

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