Nail-biting games lie ahead on U20 World Championship in Puerto Rico


Maunabo, Puerto Rico, September 10, 2015 - According to some of the main actors of FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Puerto Rico, the action for sure will keep the fans on the edge of their seats as the strongest edition ever is approaching, with many teams ready and able to place atop of the rest and start building the stars of tomorrow.

After the General Technical Meeting, held at an idyllic location in Maunabo, coaches from the sixteen participating teams gave their impressions on the eve of the competition that will be played in four venues - Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos and Maunabo, starting on Friday afternoon.

Mauricio Thomas, Brazil coach: “We are joining a world-class competition and I think it will be the closest one out of the last four editions. There are eight or nine teams with real chances of winning the championship - Turkey, Dominican Republic, Serbia, Italy, Brazil as well. All of these teams have been working a lot in developing players, gaining experience and improving. We’re well prepared, but we can’t foresee anything as things will be very difficult.”

Ivan Petkov, Bulgaria coach: “The expectations we have are to play good volleyball at a very competitive level. We aim to reach one of the top places in our pool and move forward to the second round. We know this is a World Championship, which means that every team is strong and deserve to be here. Every game should be a challenge and we have to respect each opponent.”

Chen Youquan, China coach: “We are very glad to join this competition. China team is prepared for the challenge. We will do our best to upgrade the players and get the best possible position. The team has changed from two years ago when we were champions, but we are ready to repeat.”

Wilfredo Robinson Pupo, Cuba coach: “Our mission here is to gather experience. We have some very new players - although the girls played some in U18 World Championship and some others in U23, these tournaments meant their first matches at an international stage. We are eager to play and to get the best out of this opportunity. Our roster is young but with good potential, so we’re working to improve and be once again among the world’s elite teams.”

Ales Novak, Czech Republic coach: “Many of our players are younger than this age group, so we are looking forward to help them grow up and achieve some valuable experience here. We are developing new and young players, thinking and working for the future. That’s our primary target.”

Wagner Pacheco, Dominican Republic coach: “I think we are in the toughest pool of the tournament, with two European teams as Turkey and Czech Republic, and Brazil which are always favourites. Our target is to be among the best eight teams and then to continue as far as possible. The team is well trained; with this group we achieved the bronze medal at U23 championship so we’re willing to represent the Dominican Republic in a great way.”

Ahmed Fathi, Egypt coach: “We come to this beautiful country as the first and only team from Africa and that’s why we hope to do it well not only for Egypt, but for all of African volleyball. We want to do our best and play good matches, at a very important tournament like this one.”

Luca Cristofani, Italy coach: “Our team has been working well. We need to adjust some tactical situations, but we’re looking forward to a good tournament. Our pool will be difficult, because we usually suffer a lot against Asian teams like Japan and Chinese Taipei. That’s why we’re not planning beyond the group stage. Although the U18 gold medal earned by Italy it’s a different thing, when you win at an important competition, it means you’re on the right path.”

Kiyoshi Abo, Japan coach: “Our goal is the gold medal. We know we will face many strong teams, like Italy which are in our pool, but we will try to get on the top two places. We’re enjoying a lot this experience, Puerto Rico is very nice and the people from here were very helpful for us - we really appreciate that.”

Luis Alberto León López, Mexico coach: “First of all, we’re very pleased to be in this World Championship. As for our expectations, it would be excellent to place among the top eight teams, but we are aware this is a very challenging competition. There are sixteen world-class teams chasing the same goal. We have been facing many changes on our roster on the last year, but the team is in a pretty good condition anyway.”

Natalia Málaga, Peru coach: “As every coach should want, I’m looking forward to the final stage. Our team has been preparing throughout the entire year with major competitions such as FIVB Grand Prix, Pan Am Games and Pan Am Cup. Now it’s the time for ‘our’ tournament. Even though the girls were a bit tired, they’re fully recovered now, completely ready and very motivated to give their best as they are finally here. They were waiting for this moment.”

Xiomara Molero, Puerto Rico coach: “We want to play as much and as best as possible - we have a young squad, with some U18 players. Every team here will be a tough opponent. We plan to take the tournament day by day and we have been training hard for this. We are also looking forward to a great World Championship - to carry out a quality tournament, with interesting games for the fans and a warm experience for all the teams visiting us.”

Petr Kobrin, Russia coach: “We’re glad to be here because it has been a difficult road for us. We had to go through two tournaments, in January and May to make it here. I think all of the teams in this tournament are strong - I can’t say we’re stronger than anybody, but we try to give a good output on every aspect of the game. With a little of everything, a team can win.”

Marijana Boricic, Serbia coach: “We are currently the European champions, and when you arrive with that title, you have big ambitions and also an obligation to play well. At the same time, we are missing one of our best players - the MVP from that last European Championship (Tijana Boskovic) and we are in a very hard pool, with China and Peru. It’s going to be difficult to reach the quarterfinals but we will try to place among the best six teams, as we did on every tournament on the last years.”

Kuang Chin-Tu, Chinese Taipei coach: “Our deepest thanks to Puerto Rico for welcoming us here. In this competition, we will try our best to get a good final placement and also to perform well on the games. Our training time prior to this World Championship was just about twenty days, so we’ll do as best as we can.”

Hasan Celik, Turkey coach: “Our goals here are to play well, to achieve a good level. We are ready to fight at every point and show our best attitude and energy during the matches. That spirit is our best feature, as we are not one of the strongest teams here. We love this game and give everything out when we’re on the court. We know we have a tough pool ahead, but we aim for the top spot.”


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