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Looking back: Hard work bears fruit for China at Women’s U20s

China celebrate winning the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship in Mexico.
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 19, 2018 - When China head coach Mang Shen was asked about the secret to his team's outstanding performance at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championships in Mexico, his answer was simple: “There are no secrets to our performance, we prepare well for our opponents, set a game plan and perform accordingly. Our training is structured.”

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His captain Yaqian Cai added: “The gold medal is the result of our hard work.”

Since 1995, China has finished on the podium on nine occasions at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championships with victories in 1995 and 2013.

When the Chinese last won gold four years ago, it was a certain Zhu Ting who led them to the title. She is now regarded as one of the best female volleyball players in the world and was named MVP when China won the Olympics in 2016 and when they triumphed at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup.

The top six scorers at the 2017 Women's U20s included no less than three Chinese players, in the form of top scorer Wu Han (122), Yang Hanyu (113) and Cai Xaioqing (109). Middle blocker Yang Hanyu was named MVP and already has her sights set on future success.

“We prepared well before coming here and I am not the only one who should take the credit for this title. I am honoured with this award; I really was not expecting it. We were focused for the entire tournament and we never felt nervous. It was not easy to be chosen back home to be part of this team and now with international recognition, I hope to continue to earn medals for my country; my goal is to be part of the senior national team.”

China outplayed Russia to win the final 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-16). Russia had marched undefeated through the tournament with seven wins, including a 3-0 victory over record champions Brazil in the quarterfinals (Brazil have won six titles at the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championships).

The Brazilians had to settle for fifth place in 2017 after a 3-1 victory over Poland, who were the only team to inflict a defeat on the Chinese during the tournament.

The 16 teams in the tournament produced a host of fascinating matches in July 2017 in Boca del Rio and Cordoba. Hosts Mexico also impressed. Having defeated Egypt, the Mexicans picked up a set against eventual silver medallists Russia, before an unfortunate 3-2 defeat to Bulgaria prevented them from progressing to the final eight.

In the end, the hosts, who were cheered on by fantastic home fans, had to settle for 13th place after a 3-2 win over Peru. They received praise for a well-organised World Championship - the birthday celebrations to mark 100 years of volleyball in Mexico were a huge success.

FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship Mexico 2017 - Results/Overview
FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship Mexico 2017 - Best players

FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship - Dream Team:
MVP: Yang Hanyu (China)
Setter: Tamaki Matsui (Japan)
Opposite: Anna Kotikova (Russia)
Outside Spikers: Wu Han (China) and Tugba Senoglu (Turkey)
Middle Blockers: Gunes Zehra (Turkey) and Yang Hanyu (China)
Libero: Alexandre Costa Nyeme (Brazil)


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