FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Japan

Press release

Coaches vow to fight hard for Olympic berths

(left to right) Coaches in Tokyo: Jon Uriarte (Australia), Zhou Jianan (China), Velasco Julio (Iran), Ueta Tatsuya (Japan), Park Ki-Won (Korea), Carlos Cardona (Puerto Rico), Kolakovic Igor (Serbia) and Garcia Roberto (Venezuela)

Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2012 - With only two spots available for the eight teams competing in the FIVB Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament here beginning on Friday, the coaches know booking a trip to London will be no easy task.

The coaches from the respectives teams met with the media on Thursday evening and assessed their chances at garnering one of the coveted slots.

Japan coach Tatsuya Ueta, whose side is ranked 15th in the world, reflected on last year's March 11 disaster when discussing the tournament.

"We learned a lot from last year. We had to establish our team again," said Ueta. "Our morale was shaken after the earthquake and tsunami. We have learned and prepared a balanced approach on offense and defense."

Added Ueta, "We have to encourage fans and victims of the disaster by winning a ticket to the Olympic Games."

Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic, whose team is ranked seventh, gave a concise analysis on their goal.

"We want to play in London," Kolakovic said. "It will be a difficult path as we have to play seven games in 10 days. But we hope to go to London."

China coach Zhou Jianan said his 10th-ranked group is ready for action.

"We have made a lot of hard work for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament," Zhou noted, "We prepared a lot. We have an excellent group here and will do our best to get the best possible result."

Julio Velasco, coach of Asian champion Iran, talked about what making it to London would mean for his 12th-ranked side.

"Iran has never been to the Olympic Games before in volleyball," Velasco stated. "It is a dream to reach it for the first time. We won the Asian championship last year. We believe we have a chance.

"The winner and the top Asian team will advance, so we have come here with a winning mentality and fighting spirit. My players will do their best to reach their dream."

Venezuela coach Roberto Garcia was realistic about his 16th-ranked team's chances when asked.

"We have a young team. The other teams are experienced and have high-level players," Garcia commented. "But we too want to go to the Olympic Games. We have some veteran players who could not come due to injuries, so we are targeting the 2016 Olympics."

Carlos Cardona, coach of 17th-ranked Puerto Rico, said his team is prepared for the challenge ahead.

"We would like to go to the Olympic Games," Cardona stated. "Our team is young, but we are very motivated to try and reach the goal."

Korea coach Park Ki-Won, whose squad is 20th in the rankings, admitted he had concerns going into the tournament.

"We didn't have enough time to prepare," Park said. "The length of our domestic season and injuries to players are the reasons for this. However, we will come together as one to try and win a ticket to the Olympics."

Australia coach Jon Uriarte, whose team enters ranked 22nd, was frank in his analysis.

"We are like every other team here - looking for qualification," Uriarte said. "Australia has been trying for many years to put together a good team. We have many young players. Our challenge is to qualify for the Olympics."

Friday's action at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym will see Australia battle Venezuela, Puerto Rico take on China, Iran play Korea, and Japan mix it up with Serbia.

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