Ankara, Turkey, August 10, 2015 – The pressure mounts ahead of the second edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship in Ankara, Turkey. Two days before the start of the prestigious under age competition, captains and coaches met for the traditional press conference. From August 12 to 19, twelve teams from five continents will battle for the U23 crown.
The second edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship will see twelve teams from around the world compete: Brazil, Colombia and Peru from South America, hosts Turkey, Bulgaria and Italy from Europe, reigning champions China, Japan and Thailand from Asia, Cuba and the Dominican Republic from NORCECA, and Egypt from Africa.
Host Turkey has enjoyed a meteoric rise in Volleyball since they won silver when Ankara hosted the 2003 CEV European Volleyball Championships. In 2011 they won European bronze and a year later bronze at the FIVB World Grand Prix. Along the way they made their World Championship debut in 2006, when they finished 10th. Four years on they finished sixth and then ninth in 2014.
Turkey’s teams have been enjoying success at age-group level and won medals at three of the past four European Junior Championship, including gold as hosts in 2012.
Turkey coach Ferhat Akbas hopes the Turkish fans will come to Baskent Volleyball Hall to support the local heroines: “It is a great opportunity for Turkish Volleyball fans to see some of the world’s best athletes. The U23 players are the future stars of our sport.” Akbas sees China, Dominican Republic, Brazil and Turkey as the favourites for this year’s tournament. “China are always very strong at age-group level. Dominican Republic finished second in the last edition. And with Brazil we have played three friendly matches; they compete at a very high level as well.”
His captain, Ezgi Dagdelenler, added: “We are very proud of hosting this prestigious event in Ankara. However, we feel the pressure from our fans and coaches. We’ll do our best to satisfy their and our own expectations.”
Dominican Republic coach Wagner Pacheco replied: “My team is very young. Only four athletes from our silver medal team remain in the current squad. Teams like China, Brazil, and Turkey may be much more experienced for this year’s edition.”
“It is my second world tournament after the Girls U18 world champs”, said Brazil captain Rosamaria Montibeller. “We have worked very hard to be here.”
The action gets underway in Ankara’s Baskent Volleyball Hall and Arena Sports Hall on Wednesday with the first competition day of the Preliminary Round. Pool A and Pool B are composed of six teams each and in each pool the teams will play a Round Robin to determine the ranking from first to sixth place. The first two teams in each group will play the semifinals, the teams ranked third and fourth will play for the places 5-8. Teams ranked fifth and sixth in each preliminary pool will be eliminated.
In the first edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship in Mexico in 2013, China won gold. They prevailed over the Dominican Republic in straight sets. Japan finished third.