Olympic volleyball sequel confirmed for Grand Champions Cup in Japan
The FIVB Board of Administration confirmed on Wednesday that the 2017 edition of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup – which is played in the year following the Olympics – will feature the four highest ranked continents from the 2016 Olympic Games, with countries selected as per their continental ranking. Hosts Japan and a wild card entry complete the six-team lineup for the competition.
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Next year’s women’s tournament will see hosts Japan (WR 6) take on Lang Ping’s China, who rose to the number one spot in the world ranking following their win in Rio. And there is no doubt that defending champions, Brazil will go into the Grand Champions Cup determined to make up for their quarterfinal loss in Rio against the Olympic champions. Olympic bronze medalists and world no. 2, USA will also be vying for a place on the podium, alongside world no. 5, Russia and wild card entry, Korea (WR 10).
The men’s competition features an equally impressive lineup. Current Olympic gold medalists and world no. 1, Brazil, will be looking to claim their fourth consecutive title. France, who currently sits in ninth place in the world rankings, will make their debut in the competition against hosts Japan (WR 14), Iran (WR 7), Olympic bronze medalists USA (WR 2) and wild card entry, Italy (WR 4).
Brazil has been the most successful team in the competition with the men's team winning four gold medals (1997, 2005, 2009 and 2013) and the women's team two titles in 2005 and 2013.
In the women’s competition, only Cuba and Brazil have won the World Grand Champions Cup in the year following their Olympic gold medal wins in 1992 and 2012, respectively. The Brazil men’s team achieved this feat following their gold medal win at the Olympic Games in 2004.
The quadrennial FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup is the final event on the FIVB’s 2017 Volleyball Calendar and will serve as the climax of the season whilst also providing an excellent preview one year out from the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship Japan 2018 and the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Italy and Bulgaria 2018. The competition traditionally features six teams – including hosts Japan – competing in a round robin tournament.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium will host Women’s World Grand Champions Cup matches on September 5 and 6 before the competition moves to Nagoya from September 8 to 10 where it will take place at the Nippongaishi Hall. In the Men’s World Grand Champions Cup, the Nippongaishi Hall will play host to the first two days of the competition on September 12 and 13. The second part of the competition will take place at the Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium from September 15 to 17.