FIVB president: China "big favorite" to win women's volleyball gold in Tokyo Games

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-29 15:53:26|Editor: huaxia
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OSAKA, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Newly-crowned World Cup champions China will be "big favorites" to win the women's volleyball gold medal at next year's Tokyo Olympic Games, predicts International Federation de Volleyball (FIVB) president Ary S. Graca.

"China will be in the final for sure," he told Xinhua on Sunday. "Each day is another day, a lot of things could happen, but I could say seventy percent the big favorite is China."

The Chinese women, the 2015 World Cup winners and the 2016 Olympic champions, took their 10th straight win in the World Cup on Saturday to secure their third major title in five years.

Graca attributed China's success to the new way of training Lang Ping brought to the team as she took the helm in 2013.

"Lang Ping was an excellent player and now she is an excellent coach. Before coming back to China, she spent 10 years in the United States. So she brought with her some assistants, many for physical preparations, and changed completely the way of preparations that you have in Asia, not only China," Graca said.

Graca revealed that the FIVB was considering changing the formula of the women's and men's World Cup, the 12-team round-robin tournaments which have been held in Japan since 1977.

"We are starting to discuss with Fuji TV another way to run this competition to make it more interesting and continue to bring people here," said Graca. "Probably we will do a new contract with a new format, maybe with less teams."

It is also possible that the FIVB will allocate some Olympic tickets through the World Cup, just like they did in the past.

"Maybe we can use a formula like we did in the past. Maybe we will give one ticket to the Asian countries, and two for the others. It depends on the number of the teams. We will study on that. I had a very good meeting with the president of Fuji and we'll see what will be the best formula."

Graca believed the sport of volleyball would be a huge success at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"At London Olympic Games, beach volleyball was a huge success in a country that doesn't have tradition of beach volleyball. In Rio de Janeiro, 99% tickets of volleyball and beach volleyball were sold. In Japan, this is the land of volleyball. As I heard, more than 60 percent of the tickets have already been sold. It's going to be a huge success."