FIVB Honorary Life President praises Thailand on Asian Women’s Championship success
FIVB and AVC Honorary Life President Jizhong Wei heaped praise on the Thailand Volleyball Federation for the way it organised the AVC's premier event during an interview with conducted at the Chatchai Hall, the main competition venue of the championship, shortly after Thailand's victory in the final.
Thailand stunned defending 12-time champions China in the hard-fought, five-set semifinals, and overpowered world No.3 Japan in straight-set showdown to be crowned the new Asian winners for the second time in history.
Press: What do you think about the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand?
Mr Wei: It was very successful in terms of a record 16 teams taking part, the TV coverage and the amazing number of spectators at the Chatchai Hall. The venue was full to its 4,800 seating capacity everyday. And it cannot be history without the good Thai team. Without any doubt, Thailand have made a big improvement after beating Japan and defending champions China to become new Asian winners. From the other sides, I learned that all the participating teams are very happy about all the conditions offered to them. This means general satisfaction to all participating teams and the Thailand team in particular, to all spectators and to all officials.
Press: Is there any problem when you chaired the Control Committee to take charge in the tournament?
Mr Wei: For any tournament, we can find a problem. However, if that problem can be overcome, then it isn't a problem. I’m optimistic here. Thailand really made the tournament a memorable success.
Press: Do you think referees do their right jobs in this tournament?
Mr Wei: Actually, the referee is normally left in high standard. Here, we only have good referees. This tournament is high-standard, but every participating team has brought their own referees. At the same time, we (AVC) appointed some highly-experienced referees to come here. It’s very difficult to say that every referee from each participating team will have similar standard. So, I think we have to improve all referees to have the similar standard no matter what team they come from.
Press: A new scoring system of each set ending in 21 points has been used in the FIVB U23 Worlds. Do you think the scoring system is likely to be used in all volleyball tournaments in the near future?
Mr Wei: Such a scoring system is just a test. We still have to conduct a feasibility study if it will work out pretty well. However, I think most of the teams and the spectators are familiar with the current scoring system, which each set ends in 25 points. The new scoring format could come effective from 2016 onward.
Press: What do you have in mind about the second victory Thailand claimed in the Asian meet?
Mr Wei: Thailand played exceptionally well. This is not the first time they beat China. They beat China in the 2009 final and repeated that in the showdown of the 2012 AVC Cup. This is the third time that they beat China in crucial semi-finals of the 2013 Asian meet. I think Thailand played powerfully with quick attack. Chinese players are tall but very slow. I’ve never thought Thailand would win the match. I just gave it 50-50 for my prediction of the China-Thailand match. However, Thailand went on to prove it they deserved the victory.
Press: Any remark for the standard of the Asian teams?
Mr Wei: In terms of the Asian women’s teams, I think China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Kazakhstan have already approached the world standards, but we have to work hard to raise the Asian men’s sides to meet the world level.
Press: After a great success in hosting the Asian Championship, do you think if it’s possible for Thailand to host either the World Championship for Seniors or the World Grand Prix Finals?
Mr Wei: I would like to praise the Thailand Volleyball Association to accept the request from FIVB and AVC to host any volleyball tournaments. However, the World Championship demands mainly on TV coverage and sponsors. It costs expensive to host such a tournament. In my opinion, Thailand can host a successful world junior or youth championship, but they have to think twice if they want to host the World Championship for Seniors. I know they can be a good host, but intention alone is not enough. They have to learn about their financial supports. A big sum of at least US$50 million is required for a country to host the World Championship for Seniors or the World Grand Prix Finals. A rich country with potential economy can host this world meet. Japan, for example, can fulfill their target of hosting a world championship. They set up an effective long-term project on the ticket sales, while kind sponsors are ready to throw up their full supports to the staging of that tournament. The TV coverage in Japan is also excellent and spectators full to their seating capacity in the venue.
Press: Any other comments to Thailand for hosting the 17th Asian meet?
Mr Wei: I’m very pleased with hosts Thailand. They are very successful on and off the court. This is a very perfect championship hosted by Thailand, while the Thailand team captured the Asian title for the second time in history. I don’t mind for the stunning loss of my China team. To win or to lose is not important to any participating team because we have only one similar thing in mind – volleyball.