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2017 Review: China confirm rank at World Grand Champions Cup

Zhu Ting (2) led a dominant China to victory at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Grand Champions Cup.
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 17, 2018 - One thing is certain since the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Grand Champions Cup in Japan: China are the team to beat in women's international volleyball.

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After winning the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup and taking Olympic gold in 2016, outstanding hitter Zhu Ting and her team were also victorious at the 2017 edition of the prestigious World Grand Champions Cup in September.

Held every four years in the year after the Olympics, China's victory in last year's edition of the World Grand Champions Cup handed the Asian country their second success in the competition after also winning in 2001. The gold medals helped alleviate the disappointment of finishing fourth at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals in Nanjing a little over a month earlier.

Brazil won World Grand Prix gold, but China were back in force at the Women’s World Grand Champions Cup. The Chinese defeated their South American rivals 3-2 (25-20, 25-12, 20-25, 23-25, 19-17) in what proved to be the decisive match of the six-team tournament, played in a round robin format.

The Chinese fended off two match points to clinch that all-important victory, which was a repeat of the Olympic quarterfinal in Rio de Janeiro, where China ended Brazilian dreams of a home win. The match winner at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium was Zhu Ting with 33 points.

Speaking about the match, China’s captain Zhu Ting said: “In the fifth set, both teams played at the highest level and we were lucky to win that. Brazil are a very great team but we managed to beat them because of everyone’s efforts, not just mine. We came back from two match points down to win. We made mental adjustments in that set.”

It ultimately came down to a battle of nerves between two outstanding teams. And Zhu Ting's performance was key. With a total of 100 points in China’s five victories, the hitter also topped the competition's scorer list. Zhu Ting was also named MVP – as she was when China won the 2015 FIVB World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

And there could be more to come for Zhu Ting and her teammates. China coach An Jiajie still sees room for improvement. “We are very happy to be the champions and I want to express my deep gratitude to my players and coaches. There is still room for improvement in critical areas and that will be our next challenge,
he said. It’s the first year of the new Olympic cycle so this was an important year for us.”

Successful Brazilian coach Ze Roberto had to settle for silver, having seen his Brazilian team win the FIVB World Grand Prix for the 12th time earlier in the year. A 3-0 victory over the USA on the final day of matches did at least secure second place in Japan.

Hosts Japan were cheered on in every match by thousands of enthusiastic fans. They eventually finished fifth, just behind Russia, but claimed a prestigious 3-2 win over Brazil in the process.

Japan also showed plenty of fight on the final day of the tournament, despite losing 1-3 to China. Japan’s coach Kumi Nakada said: “China are the best team and deserve to win this tournament. I think we achieved our targets for this year, more or less, but it’s obvious we have many challenges, so we have to analyse these well in order to prepare for next year. Overall this competition was a very good experience for our players. And great entertainment for our fans.”

FIVB Volleyball Women’s Grand Champions Cup 2017 Results/Overview
FIVB Volleyball Women’s Grand Champions Cup 2017 Statistics

2017 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Grand Champions Cup - Dream Team
Most Valuable Player:
Zhu Ting (CHN)
Best Outside Spikers: Zhu Ting (CHN), Jordan Larson (USA)
Best Middle Blockers: Ana Carolina Da Silva (BRA), Yuan Xinyue (CHN)
Best Setter: Koyomi Tominaga (JPN)
Best Opposite Spiker: Tandara Caixeta (BRA)
Best Libero: Kotoe Inoue (JPN)


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