Lausanne, Switzerland, December 15, 2016 - Brazil celebrated their eleventh FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix title in 2016 as the annual competition was held for the 24th time. The South Americans are the most titled team in the competition, but failed to repeat their World Grand Prix success at the Olympics later in the summer when they lost to eventual winners China in the quarterfinals.
“Of course we were all dreaming of becoming Olympic champions. But the Grand Prix title still represents a great success for Brazilian volleyball this year,” said Brazil coach José Roberto Guimarães. And the trophy will serve as a reminder of that triumph.
The Brazilians beat archrivals USA 3-2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9) in the final in Bangkok to claim an eleventh title at the most prestigious annual showdown in women’s volleyball, after also winning in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014.
In some ways, it has been a two-way battle in the World Grand Prix in recent years, as only Brazil and the United States have triumphed since 2008. At the Olympics, however, it was China defeating Serbia, who had missed out on the finals in Bangkok after only finishing sixth in the Preliminary Round.
USA coach Karch Kiraly took the final defeat in style: “Congratulations to Brazil. We learned very valuable lessons from this match. We will go back home and train harder.”
As always, the strengths of the Brazilian team included temperament and unpredictability. Five Brazilian players – Fabiana, Sheilla Castro, Fernanda Rodrigues, Thaisa Menezes and Natalia Pereira – ended the final with points tallies in double figures. Dani Lins acted as setter, Sheilla Castro was named Best Outside Spiker, while Natalia Pereira won the MVP award.
The 2016 edition of the World Grand Prix was also an opportunity for the Netherlands to shine. After their return to Group 1 as one of the best teams in the world, successful coach Giovanni Guidetti led the Dutch on a storming run to the final round. Their tournament ended there with a three-set defeat against eventual winners Brazil in the semis. The Netherlands team and top scorer Lonneke Sloetjes, however, claimed a place on the podium with a 3-2 win over Russia, who had lost their semifinal in three sets against the USA. This was their greatest success since their sensational triumph at the FIVB World Grand Prix in 2007.
Russia provided the outstanding scorer of the tournament, in the shape of opposite spiker Nataliya Goncharova (185 points). The other finalists also had reason to celebrate: China claimed Olympic victory one month later and the sixth-placed Thai team were praised for hosting the tournament so well.
"The stadium was full in Bangkok and with giant screens across the city fans were able to enjoy a great event," said FIVB president Dr. Ary S. Graça F°. "One of the FIVB’s key ambitions is to make volleyball the number one family sport entertainment in the world and it is events like the World Grand Prix Finals in Bangkok which will help us to achieve our goals," President Graça added. “The fans responded to the great event in Bangkok and it was a pleasure to watch the world’s best teams play for the World Grand Prix title in front of such a great audience. I would like to congratulate and thank the organisers of the event, which shows the way forward for the sport in years to come.”
"The FIVB was delighted to bring an elite volleyball event to Thailand, where there is a true love for the sport. I expect the 2016 edition of the World Grand Prix Finals to be an important milestone for the competition as it goes from strength to strength in years to come."
The 25th edition of the world’s premier annual women’s volleyball tournament will be held from July 7 to August 6, 2017, with the Group 1 Finals set to take place from August 2 to 6, 2017. Continuing its expansion, the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2017 will see a total of 32 teams participating in the tournament for the first time. The 32 teams have been split across three groups with 12 teams competing in Groups 1 and 2 and 8 teams in Group 3.
Group 1 will see defending champions Brazil, world number 1 China, USA, Russia, Japan, Serbia, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Thailand, Belgium and newly promoted 2016 Group 2 winners Dominican Republic competing against each other. Germany, who lost all nine matches in this year’s edition, will play in Group 2 in 2017. The Group 1 Preliminary Round will be played over three weekends in four-team pools, with the top five of the combined standings plus the Finals' hosts making it to the Final Six.FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix winners
2016: BrazilQuick links - Volleyball:FIVB.com - VolleyballFIVB.com
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