Australia pick strong squad for World Championship qualifier
Canberra, Australia, September 6, 2013 – World No. 12 Australia will be close to full strength when they begin their quest in Canberra on Friday to qualify for next year's FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Poland.
Coach Jon Uriarte is expected to name up to seven members of last year's Olympic squad in the starting line-up for the opening game of the four-team competition.
Australia plays Kuwait (WR 122) at the AIS Arena at 19:00 (local time), before taking on Kazakhstan (WR 48) at 21:00 on Saturday and Thailand (WR 48) at 15:30 on Sunday.
Australia will start favourites to win the tournament, which will see the winner qualify for next year's World Championships.
"We were the youngest team at the Olympics, we knew all three medallist teams were between six and eight years older than us," Uriarte said on the eve of the qualifiers. "The biggest challenge in the future is just keeping the team together, and we are happy that most of our players from the Olympics are out here.
"One of the key points of our plan is to develop and look for new young players, and we've got a few of them looking for a place in our senior team.
"Every four years we have these championships. After the Olympics it's the main competition in each Olympic cycle, and being there is incredibly important."
So far, only hosts Poland and three-time defending champions Brazil are confirmed for the quadrennial World Championship. Brazil qualified by winning the South America Continental Championship on August 12.