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link to: Offical 2002 World Championship website

Berlin, Germany, 4 September 2002 - The first round of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship showed some spectacular matches and surprising results. In action-packed first days, some top teams were shaken up, the tiny island nation of Puerto Rico and Greece made volleyball history by vaulting into the top 12 and host Germany kept the fans on the edge of their seats by advancing in the very last match.
The German organizer VONOG has enjoyed success with organization and record attendance, which has been a major boost for the sport in Germany and Europe in general.
"So far the World Championship is a real success," said Werner von Moltke, VONOG President and President of the German Volleyball Federation (DVV) "The organization in the cities and attendance were both impressive," he added. FIVB officials working at all five preliminary round cities have also expressed satisfaction at the organization of the Championship. 
A total number of 158,880 volleyball fans passed the entry gates during the first round with the city of Muenster scoring a record attendance of 5,661 people who came to the Halle Muensterland to watch Germany against Italy on Monday 2 September.
"We are very pleased because hall was sold out every day," Chief Executive LOC Muenster Bernd Schirwitz said. "The performance of the teams was a real promotion for volleyball."
In Leipzig, FIVB Executive Vice-President Luis Moreno of Peru was the FIVB Control Committee President and said everything went very well. "Normally the Control Committee is present at the venue to help. Here in Leipzig we only had to coordinate a little," Moreno said. He also paid tribute to the good sportsmanship of the spectators. "In total, the atmosphere in the Arena was excellent. I was surprised that the spectators always cheered for both teams on the court," Mr. Moreno said.
There were also some surprises in the competition with new teams knocking on the door of the world's top ten. The performance of Greece, a first time participant, was the most noteworthy. The Greek team won four out of five matches, including a win over China. The tiny island nation of Puerto Rico was another team that excelled, reaching the second round out of Pool C.
Italy emerged the star team of the first round and did not concede a single set in the Pool A competition. Italy, Korea and USA were the only teams that went through the preliminaries undefeated. 
The three tournament favorites had a tougher time. Three times World and Olympic Champion Cuba lost their opening match against Korea, but recovered enough to finish second in their Pool. Grand Prix winner and FIVB World Ranking leader Russia surprisingly lost against USA in Pool C. China, the winner of the 2001 World Grand Champions Cup, lost the last Pool D match against Greece.
Six of the top twelve teams are from Europe, illustrating that the sport is definitely enjoying increased popularity on that continent. Norceca (North and Central America) advance with three teams - USA, Cuba and Puerto Rico, Asia is represented with two teams - Korea and China while Brazil is the sole South American representative. 
The 2002 Women's World Championship now has two rest days and continues on Friday 6 September with the second round.


Berlin, Germany, 3 September 2002 - Japan's misfortune was Germany's luck in their last match of the preliminary round of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship. The Asian team went down 3-1 to the Czech Republic in the city of Muenster, allowing Germany back in the running to qualify for round two. 
Germany must now defeat Mexico in Tuesday's final match, if they are to stay in the tournament. Other members of Pool A, Italy and Bulgaria, are already through to the second round. The Czechs were therefore enthusiastically supported by 4,250 volleyball fans in the Halle Muensterland, in a scene in the stadium described as 'a sea of Czech flags'.
Japan, however went down fighting in the closely fought match, with Japanese coach Masahiro Yoshikawa trying everything to drive his team forward. Even 17 points scored by Miyuki Takahashi were not enough for Japan to triumph over their opponents.
"Our bad serve and reception was the reason why we lost," the Japanese captain Miyuki Takahashi said.
Her coach Masahiro Yoshikawa was as disappointed as his players. "I take the responsibility for this defeat today," he stated. "I made the wrong substitutions and that's why we have to go home now."
Korea took the first position in Pool B (Schwerin) by winning for the fifth consecutive time. The amazing Asians were much too strong for the now eliminated Egypt (3-0). Korea will play the second round in Stuttgart and will be the top seed in Pool F.
USA was also Pool C winner after an easy straight sets victory over the winless Kenya, and relegating favorites Russia to second place in the group. The Americans also had to do without their libero Stacy Sykora, still out with a head injury. She was replaced by veteran Tara Cross-Battle.
Brazil can finish first in Pool D only in the unlikely scenario of Greece defeating China later Tuesday. The best three ranked formations of each group advance to round two, made up of three groups of four nations. Play in round two starts on Friday 6 September in Bremen, Stuttgart and Riesa. The final of the Women's World Championship is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.
A report on later matches will follow.

Outsiders Puerto Rico qualify for second round

Riesa - Puerto Rico has pulled off one of the surprises of the Women's Volleyball World Championship and has vaulted into the second round over other South American opponents in Pool C, Argentina and the Dominican Republic. They were considered more likely second round candidates and now go home after Tuesday's matches. This tiny island country with four million inhabitants, measures just 100 miles by 35.
Volleyball has experienced an unprecedented boost On the Caribbean island, explains head coach David Alemán in Riesa. Approximately 12,000 players are organised in about 70 clubs in Puerto Rico and the 20 universities have established their own "league". The national league comprises ten women's teams and top matches can attract about 6,000 spectators. The men's champions' finals can see up to 10,000 volleyball fans at the venues. "In our country, women's volleyball is the sports with the highest rate of increase," said Alemán who have been head coach since 1999. He is also sports director of the biggest university on the island.
Carlos Beltran, President of the National Volleyball Federation for eight years now, was responsible for the wave of interest in the sport. It was he that awakened sponsor interest and who put volleyball in the TV limelight. 
"The popularity of volleyball is constantly increasing", says 40-year-old Alemán who is responsible for this boost in volleyball. "In the past we only practised and practised and then travelled abroad to participate in the season's highlights. We lacked the financial means to test our strength with international teams, but now, this has changed," he added. "Since the end of the national championship in April we have performed more than 500 training units - and about 25 international matches!" 
Alemán has introduced weightlifting and similar workouts for his team to improve their physical condition and he even lets them play against the men's teams.
Six of his World Championship players are under 20 years of age. Alemán hopes to reap the harvest of this new generation by as early as the 2003 Pan-American Games and at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Meanwhile the team will leave this year's Worlds in Germany with increased self-confidence and even more international experience.

Berlin, Germany, 2 September 2002 - Italy delivered a straight sets lesson to Germany on Monday night, putting the host team on a razor's edge, with just a slim chance of still making the second round at the Women's Volleyball World Championship. The German squad was outclassed by the impressive Italians In front of almost 6,000 spectators. Italy is the only team that has swept through the event so far without dropping a set.
For Germany this second straight defeat can have some important consequences. The team of the Korean head coach Hee Wan Lee now has to hope that the Czech Republic will win over Japan on Tuesday afternoon here in Muenster to avoid the home team being eliminated in the first round.
For Italy, Elisa Togut played a tremendous match and scored 19 points. Francesca Piccinini was also a big scorer with 16 points. On the German side, Sylvia Roll and Angelina Gruen both made 16 points, but the Germans still left the court empty-handed. 
Italy and Bulgaria, despite their loss against Japan earlier on Monday, have already secured a place into the second round. 
In other action, Korea grabbed a second round spot after defeating The Netherlands in Pool B, the only team in this group that is sure of a second round place. In Monday's action, Romania defeated Canada and Cuba beat Egypt, leaving four teams still in the running for the two remaining spots, to be decided on Tuesday. Cuba and The Netherlands have the best chance if they win their final match but Romania and Canada are also still in contention.
All the cards on the table in Pool C and D and with just one day to go all three teams advancing into round two are settled. In Pool C, USA defeated Puerto Rico in straight sets, but those two teams, plus Russia advance. Group leader USA had some problems with Puerto Rico as libero Stacy Sykora was out following a knock on the head in an earlier match and was replaced by Tara Cross-Battle.\
"It took a while before we found our rhythm," Yoshida said. "It would be very unfortunate for us if we cannot use her (Sykora) in the next matches of the tournament."
Also Russia faced some injury problems. Captain Evguenia Artamonova couldn't play against Argentina because of a back problem incurred in the Monday morning practice session. "We don't have a precise medical diagnosis yet," head coach Nikolai Karpol said after the 3-0 victory over Argentina. "We hope to have more details by Tuesday morning about if she can play the next matches."
In the same group, Dominican Republic won its first World Championship match by defeating Kenya.
From Pool D, China, Brazil and Greece are though to the next round. China is still the undefeated leader with a 4-0 win/loose record. Although Greece lost against Brazil, the World Championship rookie still grabbed a place in the Top Twelve.
Mexican Bibiana Candelas is top scorer after four days of competition, with 83 points. She added 36 in Monday's match. German Angelina Gruen is just two behind the leader. Ekaterina Gamova of Russia is the number one in the best attackers ranking, while US player Daniella Scott is the best blocker so far, while teammate Logan Tom is top scorer. The Dutch libero Elke Wijnhoven is best digger and best receiver and Romanian Luminita Trombitas is the leading setter.
The best three ranked formations of each group advance to round two, made up of three groups of four nations. Play in round two starts on Friday 6 September in Bremen, Stuttgart and Riesa. The final of the Women's World Championship is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany, 2 September 2002 - Japan reshuffled preliminary Pool A of the 2002 Women's World Championship on Monday with a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria. Their victory over the co-leader of the group keeps alive their hopes of a place in the second round berth in the tournament.
Bulgaria had led Pool A with Italy and would have secured advancement with a win on Monday but the 1,311 spectators in Muenster saw them slip away after winning the first set. The Bulgarians had few answers to a solid Japanese defense.
"We simply couldn't afford another defeat and knew that we had to win this match," Japanese captain Miyuki Takahashi said. "In order to make points against the tall Bulgarians and their strong block we had to serve and receive well."
But even the Japanese attack proved deadly and accurate, with Chikako Kumamae, the star of the match, scoring 25 points of which 20 were attacks. Captain Takahashi added another valuable 19 points to her team's effort.
The situation in Pool A has now narrowed, with leader Italy, host Germany, Bulgaria and Japan all fighting for three second round tickets. Japan has to defeat Czech Republic on Tuesday to stay in contention.
Korea is the first team to officially reach the second round after delivering a crushing 3-0 blow to the Dutch team in Pool B. It was Korea's fourth consecutive victory. With other favorites struggling, the Asian squad's of head coach Hoa-Suk Ryu is capable of an excellent result here in Germany.
Min-Jung Ku was the best scorer with 18 points, while Dutch Francien Huurman added 18 points for the Netherlands. The young Netherlands team under the guidance of head coach Angiolino Frigoni appeared, like in their match against Cuba, to be al little overwhelmed playing against one of the big teams here at the championship. 
In other action, the fairytale of Greece (until Monday three victories) came to a halt with a straight sets defeat at the hands of Brazil.
In Pool D, Dominican Republic defeated Kenya in straight sets.
Tuesday's matches decide which teams advance to the second round. The best three ranked formations of each group advance to round two, made up of three groups of four nations. Play in round two starts on Friday 6 September. The final of the Women's World Championship is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany, 1 September 2002 - With everyone focusing on favorites Russia, Cuba, China and Brazil, two other teams have slipped into contention at the top of the pools here at the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship. 
Italy on Sunday won its third match in straight sets, when the "Squadra Azzurra" overpowered Czech Republic in preliminary Pool A, played in Muenster, while the US team is performing equally well in Pool C, scoring a 3-0 victory against the Dominican Republic. 
"This match was the most difficult so far, " Italian captain Manuela Leggeri said. "We played tactically and technically very well in the first two sets. In the third set we lost some of our concentration and we had to pull ourselves together to win the match in straight sets."
The USA, under the guidance of their Japanese head coach Toshiaki Yoshida has now put their difficult group matches behind them in the preliminaries. Nevertheless, Yoshida was cautious. "We have to prepare all matches seriously," Yoshida said. "Every first round match is one out of the five we are playing."
Yoshida has put together a solid team, balancing experienced players with European Club experience and young college players. Against Dominican Republic, the 33-year-old Prikeba Phipps was best scorer with 16 points. Youngsters Heather Bown (23) and Logan Tom (21) are playing at the same high level as their teammates.
Earlier Sunday, Bulgaria sobered Germany by delivering a 3-0 lesson to the host country, which had earlier in the weekend, won their other two matches. Bulgaria now shares the lead in Pool A with Italy.
Cuba bounced back after a false start against Korea on Friday and succeeded in defeating the young team from The Netherlands. The title defender is now looking more confident three days into the tournament. Korea, the only undefeated team in Pool B, defeated Canada.
Greece is enjoying unprecedented success at the World Championships. The "rookie" team here in Germany won their third match in a row on Sunday when they beat Poland. But it was no pushover. In a thrilling fifth setter, Greece had to erase two Polish match points before claiming victory.
"It is fantastic for the Greek volleyball that we are almost one of the twelve best teams in the world now," Greek coach Dimitrios Floros said. "Reaching the second round is exciting for us at our debut at the World Championship."
Greece tops Pool C together with China, the other undefeated team in the group. The Greeks now faces two tough matches against Brazil and China but is still looking good for second place in the table. 
In other surprises, minnow Puerto Rico wrote volleyball history when they picked up their third victory in a row by defeating Argentina in a five-sets thriller in Pool C. They now share the lead in the group with the USA. Russia is close behind after securing an easy 3-0 over Kenya.
Cuban Yumilka Ruiz leads the best scorers ranking with 66 points, just one ahead of German Angelina Gruen. Argentine Carolina Costragrande is third with 62 points.
Russian Ekaterina Gamova is the current leader of the best attackers ranking, while Jetzabel Del Valle of Puerto Rico leads the best blockers ranking. Canadian Jenny Rauh is after three days the best server. The Dutch libero Elke Wijnhoven tops the best digger category and is second in the best receivers list behind Costagrande. Japan's Minako Onuki is the best setter so far.
The first phase of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each and will continue on Monday and will come to a conclusion on Tuesday. The best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round starting on Friday 6 September. The final of this 24 teams tournament is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany, 1 September 2002 - Bulgaria emerged the giant killer of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship on Sunday when they humbled hosts Germany 3-0 to put them in the box seat for Pool A advancement into the second round. But the surprise of the day went to a lesser-known team, when Puerto Rico defeated Argentina 3-2 in a five set thriller. 
Bulgaria, third in the last European Championship defeated Germany in straight sets in front of a capacity-packed Halle Muensterland stadium, while 5,300 vocal fans tried to turn the match in favor of the hosts. It was Bulgaria's third victory and they are yet to drop a set. 
The atmosphere in the stadium was electric when the Germans, under head coach Hee Wan Leeran out onto the court, pumped with confidence after their triumphs over Czech Republic and Japan. But the Bulgarians delivered copybook volleyball, which brought the host side back to earth. 
Angelina Gruen scored 20 points to bring her tournament total to 65, but no other player managed 10 on Sunday. Gruen is currently second on the best scorers list of the 2002 Women's World Championship. Leader Cuban Yumilka Ruiz is ahead by just one point. On the Bulgarian side, Antonia Zetova again delivered a superb match. The opposite attacker scored 17 points, while teammate Aneta Germanova came in a close second with 16 points. 
"We never found the right rhythm today and had problems in receiving and against the strong Bulgarian block," Gruen said. "The first two matches were hard, we felt it physically as well as mentally. We now want to play well against Italy and, if possible, win."
But it was Puerto Rico who pulled off the biggest surprise. They have now won two matches and lead preliminary Pool C after their five-set thriller against Argentina that went right down to the wire in the tiebreaker. All this, even though Argentine captain Carolina Costagrande scored a mighty 33 points, which was still not enough to carry her team to victory. Aurea Cruz was the best scorer on the Puerto Rican side with 20 points.
"This is a historical moment for the volleyball sport in Puerto Rico," Aleman said. "This victory is the biggest success for our Federation ever. One reason is that we will improve our World ranking now we have reached the second round. For now I just want to enjoy our victory. I remember the comments of the opening press conference, not believing my ears when Puerto Rico was mentioned as one of the teams that could advance to the second round."
In Pool B, Korea grabbed the lead after defeating Canada in straight sets. Brazil bounced back after the loss against China on Saturday by winning against Australia in Pool D.
Earlier on Sunday, Cuba blew The Netherlands off the court in Pool B to reestablish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Japan took its first tournament victory by defeating Mexico in Pool A. 
China remains undefeated in Pool D of the Women's World Championship after their 3-1 win against Thailand.

Cuba back on track; China books third straight victory
Berlin, Germany, 1 September 2002 - It took Cuba more than two days to find the right rhythm during the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship but on Sunday the three-times World and Olympic Champion went out and delivered a tough 3-0 lesson to the young Netherlands team.
For the Cubans, also in an era of reshaping the team, it was an important confidence booster after their defeat at the hand of Korea on the opening day. Sunday's match was played in Schwerin before 3,400 spectators. 
The Cubans straight set victory was something of a surprise, as the Caribbean team have not been satisfied with their play here in Germany, while The Netherlands, under the leadership of Italian head coach Angiolino Frigoni, easily won their first two matches and was looking like a strong contender. The last time The Netherlands met Cuba, it was the Dutch team won the clash.
On Sunday the Dutch team seemed tired after the first two match days, while Cuba finally showed the kind of fighting spirit and skills that have made them an Olympic Champion. Yumilka Ruiz scored 15 points and brought her tournament total to 66 points. Nancy Carrilo and Zoila Barros both made 11 points each.
"Normally the Dutch team is very strong with a good technique and tactics. We were surprised to have such an easy match against the Netherlands," Cuban coach Felipe Calderon said.
The Dutch coach Frigoni was not satisfied with the performance of his team. "We didn't play on our normal level," he stated. "I think my team thought of the myth of the Cuban team. That's the only explanation for the fear they had."
The Dutch captain Ingrid Visser thought that the block and defense didn't function well enough. "These skills were too weak," she said.
China, in their match, held onto their position as the only tournament favorite yet to be defeated, taking a 3-1 victory over Thailand. The formation of head coach Zhonghe Chen continued with their dominance and in three matches, have only dropped two sets. Thailand enjoyed a little triumph, taking their first set of the tournament from the team known as the "Amazing Asians" 
Thai player Anna Paijinda made a major contribution for her team, and was best scorer of the match with 19 points. On the Chinese side, Jing Zhang made 17 points.
Japan took quick and decisive action against luckless Mexico, scoring a 3-0 victory in just 39 minutes. Miyuki Takahashi played a big role in the Japanese victory by scoring 19 points.
The first phase of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each and will continue on Sunday. The best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this 24 teams tournament is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

Berlin, Germany, 31 August 2002 - Outsider Bulgaria delivered some high level volleyball on the second day of the 2002 Women's World Championship here in Germany to crush the Czech Republic 3-0 in one of the day's final matches. It was the second victory in a row for the number three of last year's European Championship, and elevates them to co-leader of Pool A, together with Italy and Germany in a group that is shaping up to be very closely matched.
Bulgarian Antonia Zetova, who plays professionally in Italy, was the best scorer of the match with 17 points. Bulgaria is proving to be a threatening outsider and could deliver a strong challenge to host Germany when they meet on Sunday.
In Pool B (Schwerin), Korea grabbed their second win of the tournament, although it was not always easy to slip by the wily Romanians. The amazing Asians were able to defend a lot of Romanian attacks and that was the key to their success. Although Carmen Turlea scored 27 points for Romania, the match still went 3-1 to Korea.
In Pool D, Greece extended the flying start by winning their second match in two days while earlier, USA upset Russia (3-2) and defending champion Cuba struggled, but finally took their first victory after slipping by Canada in the final stages of their five set match. 
In Pool A, Italy and Germany both grabbed a second win. In Pool B, The Netherlands took the second victory, while Puerto Rico is the big surprise in Pool C after winning for the second time in a row. 
China, a strong contender for the title, sailed past Brazil 3-1 in Pool D, while Greece scored a 3-1 victory over Australia to wrap up the day's play.
Cuban Yumilka Ruiz is currently the best scorer of the event with 51 points and is also ahead in the attack ranking.
The 2002 World Volleyball Championship is enjoying unprecedented success here in Germany with more than 30,000 spectators watching matches in the past two days.
The first phase of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each and will continue on Sunday. The best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this 24 teams tournament is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

USA upsets heavyweight Russia in tense five-setter
Berlin, Germany, 31 August 2002 - USA pulled off a major upset on Saturday at the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship when they humbled Russia in a five-set thriller to emerge triumphant in the tiebreaker watched by 4,000 spectators. 
In other action, defending titleholders Cuba almost collapsed against Canada but pulled off a victory, also in a tiebreaker. 
The Russians are the world-ranking leader, tournament favorites and also won this year's World Grand Prix just weeks ago, but this defeat at the hands of USA reshuffles the cards. Meanwhile, USA, the 2001 Grand Prix winner, had already showed good form in their first match against Argentina. Under the guidance of their Japanese head coach Toshiaki Yoshida, the side is in very good shape and one of the keys to their success is their team solidarity. Four players scored more than ten points Against Russia - Prikeba Phipps and Danielle Scott both scored 17 points each, while Logan Tom (13) Heather Bown (12) also had a great influence in this match. Even the 27 points scored by the tall Russian spiker Ekaterina Gamova was not enough to carry the Russians to victory. "We have seen a very good match and my team has surely learned a lot," Russian coach Nikolai Karpol said. 
Yoshida said the win gave his team a boost, but also cautioned. "We didn't have a long preparation<' he said. "I want to remind you that we're still in the first round." 
Cuba had to fight hard not to go down for a second time in a row. In Pool B (Schwerin), Canada made life very difficult for the young Cuban side. The three times Olympic and World Champion was two sets to one down, but then took advantage of a tiring Canadian team and went on to win the match. Cuba had a narrow 3-2 escape but now has to defeat The Netherlands on Friday to make sure they do not make an early exit from the tournament.
Earlier today, China defeated Brazil (3-1). Host Germany, The Netherlands and Puerto Rico booked their second straight victory and Argentina took a 3-0 victory over Kenya.
The first phase of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each. Only the best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this 24 teams tournament is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

China triumphs in first real test; Germany beats Japan 
Berlin, Germany, 31 August 2002 - Favorites China defeated Brazil in their first real test at the Women's Volleyball Championship on Saturday. The Asian champion triumphed 3-1 over South America's best team, who also won the bronze medal a the Sydney 2000 Olympics. But although it was not an easy victory for the team of head coach Zhonghe Chen, the lack of experience of the younger Brazilian players gave China the advantage it needed.
Hao Yang and Yuehong Zhang were both the best scorers with 16 points each. Ruirui Zhao made 14 points for her team, equal to that of best Brazilian scorer Paula Pequeno.
"I am very satisfied with the performance of my team today," Chen said. "This was a match between two young and promising teams. Our block and attack was better, while the reception of Brazil was very strong." 
Brazilian Paula Pequeno was reticent, "We will learn from our mistakes," the wing spiker said.
Host Germany booked the second tournament victory by leaving Japan empty-handed in the Pool A clash in Münster and home squad coach Hee Wan Lee didn't have as many problems as on the first competition day. The German players seemed more relaxed and claimed a 3-1 victory over the Asians to take the lead in Pool A and move closer to a place in the second round.
The Netherlands also booked their second straight victory, a 3-0 win against Egypt, where coach Angelino Frigoni gave all his players the chance to play. "It was good for us, that all 12 players played and gained experience," said captain Ingrid Visser, who scored six points. Elles Leferink played her 200th match for the Dutch national team.
Argentina also had a trouble-free 3-0 victory against the lesser experienced Kenya. The first phase of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each. Only the best three-ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this high level event is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.

Korea upsets World Champions Cuba
Berlin, Germany, 30 August 2002 - Three times World and Olympic Champion Cuba lost on the opening day of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship against Korea. In the Northern German city of Schwerin, the amazing Asians defeated the century's best team 3-2 in front of almost 4,000 spectators. Russia, the other main title favorite, lost a set against Dominican Republic, but finally took the victory (3-2).
Cuban coaches Filipe Calderon and Eugenio George already told on their arrival here in Germany that Cuba is undergoing a change. Some experienced players left the team of the defending champion, while new young players entered the Caribbean formation. Korea took advantage of the Cuban chance and won the clash after an exciting fifth set tiebreaker. Cuban attacker Yumilka Ruiz was with 27 points the best scorer. Koreans Min-Jung Ku and Kwang-Hee Choi both made 16 points.
"We are so happy that we won against the Olympic Champion," Korean captain Hye-Mi Kang said.
Russia had some hard times against Dominican Republic. The tall Russian players surprisingly lost the second set. Thanks to some strong attacks of Evguenia Artamonova (24 points) and Ekaterina Gamova (18 points), Russia claimed the 3-1 victory.
"The first match is always the hardest one," Russian coach Nikolai Karpol said. "My team lost concentration in the second set and therefore made a lot of mistakes." Captain Artamonova agreed. "The Dominican Republic showed that they can fight," she stated. "Finally our block worked well and we could win the match."
Earlier on Friday, favorite China won the clash against Australia in straight sets. Brazil had the same result against Poland. Host Germany had to fight hard to claim a 3-2 victory over Czech Republic. Top European teams Italy, The Netherlands, Bulgaria and Greece also won their first match here in Germany.
The first round of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each. Only the best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this high level event is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.
The matches in the preliminary round will continue on Saturday

Host Germany escapes against Czech Republic
Berlin, Germany, 30 August 2002 - Host Germany faced problems in their opening match in the 2002 Women's World Championship in Muenster, but still managed to survive a tense 5-setter against the Czech Republic. It took the host side more than two hours to overcome the attack of their opponents and to give the 5,000 spectators in the Halle Muensterland reason to celebrate.
As home favorite, the pressure was on the German squad to deliver a perfect performance and the Czechs were quick to capitalize on their early nervousness. In the final stages, Germany walked away with the match when they were able to deliver the necessary points. Their lofty star player Angelina Gruen was leading German scorer with 24 points, while Czech Helena Horka scored an equal number for her side.
In other action, tournament favorite China didn't have problems with a deft and decisive victory over Australia. China only allowed the Australians to score 46 points in the match. Lead by the popular and agile Ruirui Zhao (12 points), China took a straight sets victory while coach Zhonghe Chen was able to give all of his 12 players a run. 
"We have played as well as we expected," Zhonghe Chen said. "I have tested all my players in this match, so everyone could get used to the atmosphere here in Leipzig." Captain Kun Feng agreed with her coach. "We played as we hoped and we are satisfied, " she stated.
Earlier today, Italy defeated Japan in Pool A (3-0), while Brazil was stronger than Poland in Pool D. The Netherlands opened the Women's World Championship with a victory over Romania in Pool B.
The first round of the 2002 Women's World Championship is played in four pools of six teams each. Only the best three ranked formations of each group will proceed to the second round. The final of this high level event is scheduled for Sunday 15 September in Berlin.


Berlin, Germany, 30 August 2002 - European number two Italy made a tremendous start of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship here in Germany, defeating Japan in straight sets to open the tournament with a flourish. Brazil and The Netherlands also won their opening matches in the preliminary round.
Almost 4,000 spectators watched Italy's victory, the opener in Pool A. the Italians had a fantastic start against the strong Asian defenders and the "Squadra Azzura", number two at the European Championship opened with a first set victory of 25-11 to lay the foundation for their straight sets win.
Japan fought back but Italy cruised through the match with attacks by Francesca Piccinini (16 points), Elisa Togut (11 points) and Simona Rinieri (10 points) guaranteeing victory to the Pool A favorite. "We are happy with this result," Italian captain Manuela Leggeri said. "We have set ourselves a high goal or this World Championship and want to finish among the best four teams."
In Pool D, Brazil took a 3-0 victory over Poland, who has been absent from the World Championship for 14 years. But it was not easy going for the team of head coach Marco Motta, a former coach of the Italian national team. The Brazilians had some problems with Poland's powerful attacks, even though it was not sufficient to win them a set. Brazilian Paula Pequeno was the best scorer of the match with 16 points while Valeska Menezes scored four kill blocks.
The Netherlands won the important Pool C clash against Romania (3-1). The Dutch formation had the possibility to win the clash in straight sets, but Romania's fighting spirit gave them a well-deserved set. On the Dutch side, setter Riette Fledderus, in the team since 1995, played a great match and for their national coach, Italian Angiolino Frigoni, it was just the victory that The Netherlands needed and sets the "Orange squad" on track for advancing to the next round.

What the coaches are saying on the eve of the Women's World Championship

In Münster
Hee Wan Lee (Germany) "We have a very tough group. If we show a good performance we will have the chance to finish among the best three and get through to the next round. The atmosphere within the team is good, the team spirit too. All players are fit and can play. The pressure at a World Championship at home is great, but I had many individual talks with the players to reduce the pressure and nervousness."
Stefan Panchev (Bulgaria) "I think that this group here in Muenster is the toughest. There will be a lot of surprises and upsets. But I am convinced that if we play on our good level we will be among the best three teams."

Marco Bonitta (Italy) "It will be very difficult for every team, and many teams play at the same high level. The order from first to third place cannot be predicted. We have the chance to defeat Germany although the Germans beat us at the Sydney Olympics. But in sports everything changes fast, and my team has become stronger."

Stanislav Mitac (Czech Republic) "This is a very tight group and our goal is to finish among the best three. We have a lot of respect for the German team, because showed impressive results at the World Grand Prix, but that's four weeks ago. We are outsiders, but want to upset one of the three so-called favourites."

Sergio Hernandez (Mexico): "It is an honour for us to play in this group. To be here is a success for us. My team is still very young and I hope they will benefit from this event for the future."

Masahiro Yoshikawa (Japan): "The World Championship is a good opportunity to achieve a good result. My team is well prepared."

In Riesa
Claudio Cuello (Argentina): "This is our first participation at a World Championship and our first big international event since 1989. We want to gather experience in the fight against the international top teams."

Jorge Perez Vento (Dominican Republic): "We have a very young team that has prepared for this event since the 1998 World Championship. Our team has one big handicap: we lack international experience. In the past two years we haven't played against Russia, USA and China. The last time we met Germany was in Bremen two years ago and our last confrontation with Japan was only in 1998. Our aim is to reach the final eight."

Gilbert Ohanya (Kenya): "We have a lot of young players in our team and we are ready. Kenya doesn't want to be recognized for its good track and field athletes, but we want to leave a mark in volleyball too. Gathering experience, and challenging the other teams is what we are here for."

David Alemàn (Puerto Rico): "This is the first time we qualified for a World Championship and we preparing for this event for two years now. We worked hard with young players and we are highly motivated. I hope that we can fight against the top teams."

Nikolai Karpol (Russia): "With the exception of the return of Elena Tiourina, our team is unchanged compared to the Grand Prix. We hope to make it into the next round. 

Toshiaki Yoshida (USA): "We came to Riesa with a strong team and we will do our best to get as far as possible. Our first setter Robyn Ah-Moh is pregnant, but she came to Germany with us in order to support us as a technical assistant. Setters Elisabeth Fitzgerald and Jennifer Flynn will replace her.

In Schwerin
Stan Costinel (Romania): "As at any World Championship there are favorites and outsiders. We consider ourselves as outsiders. But we hope to surprise the people here in Schwerin."

Lorne Sawula (Canada): "For the first time in twelve years the Canadian team has qualified for the World Championship. This is the beginning of a new program, which is leading to a good result at the 2008 Olympics. During this event, we want to play good volleyball."

Hoa Sook Ryu (Korea): "We have two aims for this World Championship. First of all, we want to make Volleyball more popular in our home country. Secondly we want to prove that small players are able to achieve big results with good technical volleyball. Our goal is to reach the final round. Although our opening match against Cuba will not be easy, we think we have 50 percent change to win."

Filipe Calderon (Cuba): "I don't want to say anything about our chances for the match against Korea on Friday. It is well known that Asian teams have a very strong defense. However, the Cuban team is very strong in attacking, so I am sure it will be a nice match."

Angelino Frigoni (The Netherlands): "Here in Schwerin we are placed in a strong group. We want to move to the second round, so that means that we have to be among the best three teams in this pool. It we reach it, it is ok. But if we fail it will be disappointing."

Hesham Badrawy (Egypt). "The group is especially difficult because of the different volleyball styles. My team will face Asian, European, American and Cuban style of volleyball." 

In Leipzig
Marco Motta (Brazil): "We definitely want to reach the next round, even with this young and new team. We finished fourth in the Grand Prix and I think we will qualify for the next round here in Germany. We like Leipzig. The facilities are first class."

Mark Barnard (Australia): "For Australia it is only the second time that we participate at the World Championships. It is very tense for us and we are excited to play here. We have a lot of support back in Australia. We know it will be tough to qualify for the next round with all these great opponents here in Leipzig.

Dimitrios Floros (Greece): "It is the first time Greece is playing a World Women's Championship. We worked hard to qualify for the event here and a dream comes through now we can participate. On the first place, we are here to get experience for the future and to see what we can expect during the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. It is important for us to compete against the best teams in the world.

Kiartipong Ratchatakriangkrai (Thailand): "It is a big chance for us to gain experience during the World Championship. Our goal is to reach the next round, but we know that will be tough. Our players are very young and not so tall as the players of the other teams. We didn't come to Germany to win the title. I would like to wish all teams lot's of success."

Zhonghe Chen (China): "We try to show Leipzig our best volleyball. The coaches, team officials and players are very happy to be here. Russia, Cuba, Brazil and China are my favorites for the title, but I think Russia will be the strongest."

Zbigniew Krzyzanowski (Poland): "We are well prepared and we hope to reach the second round."


Regla Torres joins Cuba in Germany
 Cuban super star Regla Torres will participate in the 2002 Women's World Championship. The 33 years old "player of the century" was absent in the team of the Olympic and World Champion but made her comeback at the World Grand Prix after a long break. Immediately after the arrival in Schwerin, Torres joined her team for a practice session. But it is not yet absolutely sure yet if Torres will be in the starting six when Cuba faces Korea. "We will decide at the last moment if she will play," team doctor Reynaldo Betancourt said.
Pic: Cuban team at recent World Grand Prix

Can Cuba take a fourth title?
Berlin, Germany, August 27, 2002 – When players of the world’s best 24 teams run out onto the courts for the opening matches of the 2002 Women’s World Volleyball Championship on Friday, many will be wondering if defending champions Cuba will be able to take their fourth title.
The task will not be easy for the Cubans, undergoing an overhaul ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics. Cuba won their first title back in 1978 in Leningrad, Soviet Union, but the ‘90’s was their decade. They took the gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the start of a blitz that earned them three Olympic and two more consecutive World Titles.
But here in Germany it will be hard for the young Cuban squad to take the top podium spot, even if veteran coach Eugenio George is back in the driving seat after some disappointing performances over the past two years. Cuba will open its account in preliminary Pool B in the German city of Schwerin with Korea and The Netherlands as their toughest competitors.
In the overall shakeout, Russia, winners this year of the World Grand Prix and the Montreux VolleyMasters in Switzerland, is a strong contender. Under the firm hand of Coach Nikolai “The Bear” Karpol, the Russians are out to bring the title back to Moscow. The last Russian victory was in 1990, when the former Soviet Union defeated China in the final in Beijing, China. Russia will play the preliminary matches in Pool C (Riesa and Dresden), with Argentina and the USA as their strongest competitors.
Another strong contender is China, bent on developing a “golden team” for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The Chinese were very much in the limelight in this year’s World Grand Prix, finishing a splendid second to Russia. Head coach Zhonghe Chen took over the team in 2001 when the team immediately claimed the 2001 World Grand Champions Cup title in Fukuoka, Japan. China, with superb talent like World Grand Prix top scorer Yang Hao and the ever-agile Zhao Roirui always in the forefront, will face another favorite Brazil in preliminary Pool D (Leipzig). A battle between these giants on Saturday 31 August could be one of the first round highlights.
Hosts Germany come to the championship with modest hopes, but with a bundle of confidence after their Bronze medal, behind Russia and China, at the World Grand Prix.
Head coach Hee Wan Lee, a Korean national in Germany for more than twenty years, is aiming to reach the final eight. “I would like to go to Berlin,” he said recently. The team plays in Münster with Italy their major challenger, but with the moral support of home supporters behind them and the knowledge that ticket sales have been booming for their matches.
Italy and The Netherlands are Europe’s two ‘dark horses’ and both are capable of pulling off surprises. Italy’s coach Marco Bonitta has been able to draw on talented juniors with proven results over the past decade and his team is well balanced and motivated.
Meanwhile, The Netherlands, now under Italian coach Angiolino Frigoni, has been continuously edging into the foreground.
The 24 teams will play in four Pools with the top three teams going into the next round.
The final will be played on September 15 at the Max Schmeling Halle in Berlin at 1500 CET.

Dresden remains host city despite flood catastrophe

Dresden will remain a host city of the 2002 Women's Volleyball World Championship, despite the great flood catastrophe that has struck the historic city, President Dr. Rubin Acosta said on Thursday.
"At this time of great distress for the people of Dresden, we must show our solidarity and go ahead with the Championship as planned, in close cooperation with the people and governmental authorities," said President Acosta.
Dresden and nearby Riesa are two of eight host cities for the World Championship, the most important women's Volleyball tournament in the 2002 season when the world's elite 24 teams will contest the title. Matches are due to start on Aug 30 in the city of M|nster and conclude with the finals in Berlin (September 13-15).
The decision to go ahead with the Championship also followed an appeal from Dresden's Mayor Ingolf Rossberg who said it was an important gesture of solidarity to the citizens of the city.
The Mayor has also intervened to solve a logistical problem of transport of the teams by bus from near Riesa to the stadium in Dresden. He has guaranteed that the 60km journey will take no longer than 90 minutes by bus and will be supported by a police escort.
"The people of Dresden have suffered a fate that could strike any of us and we are assured by the Mayor that going on with the organization of the Championship as planned will be a confidence booster, and a sure sign to the people of the city that we have not forgotten them," said President Acosta.
Speaking from Germany, President of the German Volleyball Federation, Mr. Werner von Moltke said going ahead with the Championship would serve as a morale booster for the stricken city. "It signals that Dresden's citizens can rely on their partners," Mr. Von Moltke said


Dresden bleibt Austragungsort der Volleyball Weltmeisterschaften
Dresden wird trotz der ochwasser-Katastrophe Austragungsort der Frauen Volleyball Weltmeisterschaften bleiben bestätigte der Präsident des Internationalen Volleyballverbandes, Dr. Rubén Acosta, am Dienstag. "In Zeiten großen Leidens für die Menschen in Dresden möchten wir unsere Solidarität zeigen und werden daher mit den Weltmeisterschaften wie geplant fortfahren." sagte Acosta.

Dresden und die nahegelegene Stadt Riese sind zwei der insgesamt acht Veranstaltungsorte für die diesjährigen Weltmeisterschaften, dem wichtigsten Volleyball Turnier des Jahres. Spielbeginn für die 24 weltbesten Teams ist am 30. August in der Stadt Münster. Der Weltmeister wird von 13-15 September in Berlin, der Hauptstadt Deutschlands, ermittelt.

Die Entscheidung mit den Bewerben wie geplant zu beginnen, folgt unter anderem den Bemühungen des Bürgermeisters von Dresden, Ingolf Rossberg, der dies als eine wichtige Geste der Solidarität gegenüber der Stadt und seiner Einwohner sieht. Rossberg versichert auch, dass die Transportproblematik für die Teams von Riesa zum Stadion in Dresden gelöst ist. Die 60 km Busfahrt wird nicht länger als 90 Minuten betragen und wird zusätzlich von einer Polizeieskorte begleitet werden. "Die Menschen in Dresden haben einen Schicksalsschlag erlitten, der jeden von uns treffen könnte. Wir möchten den Menschen zeigen, dass wir sie nicht vergessen haben und sie dabei unterstützen ihr Vertrauen wieder zu gewinnen," sagte Acosta.

Auch der Präsident des Deutschen Volleyballverbandes, Werner von Moltke, sieht die geplante Ausführung der Weltmeisterschaften als wichtigstes Zeichen der Unterstützung. "Es zeigt, dass sich Dresdens Einwohner auf seine Partner verlassen kann," sagte von Moltke


Women's World Championship goes Tobacco Free

Germany's Minister for Health, Ulla Schmidt, and the German Federal Government's Special Delegate for matters concerning drugs, Maron Caspers-Merk, recently presented a promotional TV spot aimed at pointing out how smoking is incompatible with sport. Titled "Digging but without smoking, please!" the spot was also introduced to the Berlin public by national player Christin Guhr and Werner von Moltke President of the German Volleyball Federatrion. The move by the German Volleyball Federation is in keeping with the FIVB's support for the "Tobacco Free Sports" campaign of the World Health Organization (WHO). The trailer will be broadcast to introduce television coverage of the Women's Volleyball World Championship in Germany.  All competition halls and all adjoining rooms, including the VIP areas and press centers have been designated non-smoking areas for the Championship. "We want to show Germany that it is cool not to smoke," the Health Minister announced at the presentation.  "It will be easier to realize your sporting ambitions if you don't smoke," said Christin Guhr on behalf of all her fellow national players who appeared in the TV spot. Guhr, who plays for Dresdner SC called the spot "short and precise", adding "The spot explains the topic very well."  Caspers-Merk said the German government is particularly concerned in the increase of female smokers. "There is a large increase in this group at the moment," she said.  The FIVB supports the WHO program and other United Nations programs concerning using sport for peace. In The coming Men's World Championship in Argentina will carry the slogan "Peace through Human understanding" and since 1997, FIVB has worked with UNHCR to bring Volleyball to Refugee and Returnee Camps in many troubled areas of the world.  Pic: The German team supports the campaign "Tobacco free sports"!

Germany celebrates Bronze medal at World Grand Prix They went as outsiders and came back triumphant, and with the bronze medal to their credit after facing and winning over some of the world's strongest teams. Nothing could be a bigger confidence booster ahead of hosting the FIVB women's World Championship (Aug. 30- Sept. 15) in eight German cities. The team flew back into Frankfurt on Tuesday and were greeted by German Volleyball Federation Sport Director Siegfried Köhler and Sport Advisor Gerhard Hassler who congratulated them on written German Volleyball history with their fantastic performance in the World Grand Prix finals in Hong Kong. But the women have little time to rest, just a brief trip home and then they will meet in Heidelberg for the final preparations for the 2002 World Championships in their own country. Players in the national squad who did not go to Hong Kong, Tanja Hart, Christina Benecke, Christin Guhr and Cornelia Dumler are already installed at the training camp in Heidelberg. Germany's superstar Angelina Grün was particularly brilliant in Hong Kong. "Grüni" was in the top 10 of five of seven categories - 2nd best scorer, 7th best attacker, 12th best blocker, 8th best server, 5th best digger and 4th best receiver. Other outstanding players were Beatrice Dömeland, Sylvia Roll and Libero Kerstin Tzscherlich. Now home, the team is also hard at work to promote their "home" championships and among the activities on their busy schedule are photo shootings with prominent magazines, the shooting of a TV Spot on "Tobacco-Free Sport" - for a tobacco free volleyball World Championship, a visit to the TV studios where national Trainer Hee Wan Lee and players Beatrice Dömeland, Kerstin Tzscherlich and Angelina Grün, as well as World Championship mascot "Casper" will chat to children about the World Championship. The program will be broadcast on ARD, Germany's First TV Channel on August 31, but also will be seen on "KinderKanal" on WDR and be repeated on Sept. 1 on ARD.

The great USSR team won the first World Championship in Moscow in 1952 and dominated women's volleyball for the next ten years. Japan then took over the reigns, battling the the USSR over the next decade in a series of legendary matches, dubbed the 'Typhoons of the Orient against the Red Witches'. The Japanese won Volleyball's first Olympic Gold in 1964, and three of the four World Championships from 1962 to 1974. Cuba entered briefly on the Winner's list in the seventies, but the eighties belonged to the Chinese and the great Lang Ping, arguably volleyball's first superstar. Cuba returned in the nineties with three Olympic Gold medals and the last two World Championship titles. Will they equal the record of the USSR by winning its third consecutive title in Berlin? Or will Germany 2002 see the start of another decade of dominance by another team?



Casper, the official World Championship Mascot

Click on flag for teams' updates
Pool A
  Pool B
  Pool C
  Pool D


Happy Birthday!

Sunday 8 Sept.
Marina Daloca from Brazil.



Monday 9 Sept.
Welissa Gonzaga from Brazil.

German Television calls on Volleyball specialists for support
Formers players Danja Muesch and Susanne Lahme
Volleyball Worlds Tobacco Free
 the Women’s World Volleyball Championship in Germany will be ‘smoke free in competition venues.  More...
Munster venue given the all clear by FIVB More...
Almost 500 VIPs present during finals
Including ambassadors, ministers and other high authorities, have confirmed their presence at the final of the 2002 Women’s World Championship in Berlin.
More to read about...

Casper, the official World Championship Mascot

Pool E
  Pool F
  Pool G


Happy Birthday!

Saturday 7 Sept.
Zetova Antonina from Bulgaria.



Sunday 8 Sept.
Marina Daloca from Brazil.



Monday 9 Sept.
Welissa Gonzaga from Brazil.


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