PRESS RELEASE 09.09.2003


2003 World Women’s Under-20 Volleyball Championship

SUPHAN BURI, Thailand, September 9, 2003 - With all 12 teams having a rest day on Tuesday two fascinating match-ups await on Wednesday with defending three-time world champions Brazil due to pit their expertise against Russia, while the hosts are expected to have their backs to the wall as they challenge European champions Poland in the elimination play-off in the Women’s U20 World Championship.

The draw for both the elimination and seeding play-off rounds took place late Monday night with the elimination play-offs contested between teams which finished second and third in their respective groups, while the seeding play-offs involve the first teams in each group.

Unbeaten the Netherlands topped Group A, followed respectively by Venezuela, Thailand and Algeria. Russia captured the top spot in Group B, with South Korea, Belarus and Puerto Rico finishing second, third and fourth respectively. Germany topped Group C, while China, Ukraine and Chinese Taipei finished second, third and fourth while Brazil captured pole position in Group D, followed by Poland, Turkey and Cuba. At the end of the preliminaries, Algeria, Puerto Rico, Chinese Taipei and Cuba bowed out of the championship.

Following the Monday night’s draw, Venezuela play Belarus, South Korea take on Ukraine, Turkey challenge China and Thailand strut their stuff against Poles. In the seeding play-offs, aggressive Germany meet in-form the Netherlands and fired-up Brazil face tall and towering Russia.

Seeing the draw, Thai head coach Sorat Wannawong admitted that an uphill task awaits his team since Poland already proved that they are a tough nut not to crack. They hammered Turkey in straight sets before stunning former world champions Cuba in four sets.

“It’s a do-or-die tussle," he said. "To beat Poland is not easy. We need improved tactics, spirit and determination to match them competitively. “However, we have nothing to lose. The show must go on and I’m still convinced that my girls are ready to give their best in the match against Poles. With home fans cheering my team all the way, I believe that our chance to beat them could be within our reach.”