Top teams gear up for World Grand Prix
Beijing, China, May 13, 2013 – China, Cuba, Thailand and Puerto Rico warm up for the World Grand Prix at the China International Women’s Volleyball tournament, scheduled from May 17 to 19 in Ningbo (Zhejiang province) and May 22 to 24 in Shenzhen (Guangdong province).
It will be the first time that China will play with recently appointed coach, Jenny Land Ping. The Chinese squad also underwent a major reshuffle two weeks ago when several key players, including star setter Wei Qiuyue and wing blocker Ma Yunwen, quit the team.
“We are mainly getting to know each other,” said coach Lang Ping. “We have only trained together for one week. The tournament will be the first test and a good learning experience for the young Chinese team. Our objective this quadrennial is to achieve good results at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games so all our training and competitions are geared towards this ultimate goal,” she continued.
Cuba's also participating in the competition in preparation for the 12th Pan-American Cup where the top teams will be able to take part in the 2014 Grand Prix.
Cuba's team will feature offensive-receivers Yoana Palacio, Sulian Matienzo, Dailiris Cruz and 14 year old Melisa Vargas, the team’s youngest player. The middle hitters will include Rosanna Giel, Alena Rojas Orta, Daymara Lescay and Heydi Rodriguez. Rounding out the team are Ana Yilian Cleger, Lilianne Marcillan, Jennifer Alvarez and Emily Borre.
The Thailand Volleyball Association announced its list of players for the tournament, which includes Apinyo Wilavan, Buakaew Wanna, Sittirak Onuma, T. Oleumjit, Tomkom Nootsara, Kanthong Malika and Hyapha Amporn. The Thai team won the Asian Women’s Championship against China in 2009 and then in 2012 overcame them again to capture gold at the 3rd AVC Cup for Women and qualify for 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix.
The China International Volleyball tournament is an annual event, which started in 1985.