BEIJING, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China should take advantage of their women's volleyball success at the Rio Olympics to make a "volleyball boom" around the country, said the International Federation de Volleyball (FIVB) president Ary S. Graca here on Tuesday.
"You had won Olympic gold medals before, twice, but volleyball didn't have a boom in China. So, the idea is to take advantage of this title of the women's team to make the sport grow around China and of course support the men's team," said Graca, who was here in Beijing for a visit to China's General Administration of Sport and the Chinese Volleyball Association (CVA).
The Chinese women claimed back-to-back titles at the FIVB World Cup in Japan and the Olympic Games in Rio in the last two years under the helm of Jenny Lang Ping, while Graca warned that it would not be easy for them to repeat the feat in the new Olympic circle.
"You must be careful! You can reach such position, but to maintain the position is much more difficult than to reach the position. Now the Chinese women's team is the team to beat," he said.
The FIVB president also offered his advice to the Chinese men's team, which is bidding to qualify for the Tokyo Games under new head coach Raul Lozano of Argentina. Despite their women's counterparts triumph, the Chinese men have missed the last two Olympic Games in a row following their participation as hosts at the Beijing Games in 2008.
"I know Lusano very well, he's done excellent work in the past and doing a good job, now the team has to play against the best players of the world," said Graca. "If the CVA agrees, we can bring Team China to play Italy, Brazil, Poland, Russia etc. It's very difficult to qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. Now you have a good team, you need more experience."
The FIVB World Grand Prix Finals will be held in Nanjing this August, while Graca would like to have China play host to more prestigious international volleyball and beach volleyball events in the near future.
"I think China should think about (hosting) the next beach volleyball world championships, I think China should make also the indoor world championships, and we are open to discussions," he said.
The FIVB president also encouraged his Chinese colleagues to boost the development of the sport in schools.
"In my opinion, volleyball is the sport of peace. There is no contact, no violence, boys can play with girls and the parents don't have to worry about their kids getting hurt. It's the perfect sport for schools," he said.