Canada and Norway lead qualification field at U23 World Champs in Myslowice
Canada’s Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke, bronze medallists last year, are the top seeded team in the women’s qualification and Norway’s Andreas Takvam and Runar Torsvik Sannarnes are the number one pair in the men’s.
A total of 10 women’s and 16 men’s teams will compete for 4 spots each in main draw pool play, which starts on Wednesday. Qualification matches will start at 9.00, and two rounds are scheduled for each gender.
The U23 World Championships are the first of four FIVB age-group tournaments this year. Last year Myslowice also hosted the inaugural U23 event.
This year a new intended rule will be tested at the U23 and U21. It concerns the block rule, a block contact is not counted as a team hit anymore. Consequently, after a block contact, a team is entitled to three hits to return the ball.
Furthermore a new regulation is introduced at the U23 in Myslowice and all the other under-age events: the team coach is allowed inside the players’ box during the game and can give directions during certain moments (i.e. time-outs and in between sets).
The town of Myslowice, located 70 km outside Krakow, has also hosted the U19 (2006) and U21 World Championships (2007) before. In the past the FIVB World Tour also stopped in the Silesian mining town. There were women’s tournaments in 2008 and 2011. In 2009, 2010 and 2012 it was the men who took centre stage.
Myslowice is very proud to host another FIVB event, said tournament director Bartlomiej Gruchlik at the press conference on Monday. “Mysłowice did not get the possibility of organizing this great event by chance. The reason is we just do it well and quoting the FIVB supervisor - we have people who really know what to do and how to do it. We are prepared for the event and the only thing I can ask for is the crowd of spectators. But I am sure there will be no problem with fans in Słupna Park.”
The mayor of Myslowice, Edward Losak, added: “This is a magnificent tournament which adds a lot of splendour to the name of Mysłowice. I want to thank every single person who is making these championships possible.” Andrzej Warych (Polish Volleyball Federation): “Now it is players’ challenge to make this tournament a very successful sport event.”
In order to accommodate the 36 main draw teams in both the men’s and women’s competition, the organizers had to make some changes this year. The biggest one was to increase the number of courts to six. The teams competing in Myslowice come from all five continents.
After the U23 in Poland, Mexico will host the inaugural U17 World Championships from July 15-20. The other age-group events are the U21, in Larnaca, Cyprus (July 22-27) and the U19 in Porto, Portugal (July 29-August 3).